Ty Dillon expresses his frustration with Chase Elliott on their last-lap wreck and Max Papis recalls his rough racing with Mike Skeen at the end of the Chevrolet Silverado 250.
Max Papis holds his composure after being slapped by Mike Skeen's girlfriend after the Chevrolet Silverado 250.
Get a breakdown of how the full 43-car field fared in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live 1. Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Finding his way to clear air on the race's final restart, Johnson got all the encouragement he needed over the team's in-car radio: "Leg it, baby. Leg it." The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion did, pulling away to his fourth victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the 71st of his career in NASCAR's top series. Sign up for Scanner today to hear in-car audio. " Sign up for Scanner today to hear in-car audio 2. Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. The defending Sprint Cup champion had to carve his way from the back of the field after suffering engine failure during Saturday practice, but was perched atop the leaderboard by the 87th lap in the 325-lap distance. Harvick wound up leading a race-high 116 laps in recording his second runner-up finish in two races thus far in 2015. " WATCH: Johnson holds off Harvick for the win 3. Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. Junior has opened the season by going 2-for-2 in posting third-place finishes despite sustaining front-end damage Sunday when he ran into a piece of debris in the late going. Though he consistently was near the front of the pack, Earnhardt led just one lap all afternoon. " WATCH: Dale Jr.: Crew chief Ives is 'a pretty good cheerleader' 4. Joey Logano, No. 22 Ford, Team Penske. The Daytona 500 champ continued his hot streak by winning the Coors Light Pole Award on Friday. Though he lacked the power to mount a challenge over the final green-flag run, Logano will enter next Sunday's Kobalt 400 (3:30 p.m. ET, FOX) at Las Vegas Motor Speedway as the Sprint Cup points leader. " WATCH: Out Front with Miss Coors Light 5. Matt Kenseth, No. 20 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. The JGR driver -- who led 10 laps Sunday and lined up second for the final restart -- watched his losing skid stretch to 46 races (dating back to 2013) after a slight fade just before the checkered flag. 6. Martin Truex Jr., No. 78 Chevrolet, Furniture Row Racing. The modest rejuvenation continues for Truex and the Colorado-based team owned by Barney Visser. The Furniture Row bunch registered just five top-10 finishes in all 36 races last year; two races into 2015, Truex and Co. already have a pair of single-digit results. " MORE: Truex looks to put 2014 woes behind him 7. AJ Allmendinger, No. 47 Chevrolet, JTG-Daugherty Racing. A strong finish on an intermediate track helped lift the spirits of the single-car organization, which qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs for the first time last year. After just two races, Allmendinger is slotted in a tie for eighth in the series standings. " MORE: Chase Grid after two races 8. Brett Moffitt, No. 55 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. The former NASCAR Next driver needed to receive the free pass two times to do it, but Moffitt closed the deal on the lead lap on a day of firsts for his career-best finish in just his eighth Sprint Cup start. Brian Vickers is scheduled to return to MWR's No. 55 ride next weekend at Las Vegas. 9. Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Ford, Team Penske. The 2012 champion had hopes for a top-five finish, but his aspirations were also tempered with temporary resignation over what he thought could have been a subpar 15th-place result. "We were just kind of up and down and floating all day long," Keselowski said after settling for somewhere in the middle of his expectations in ninth place. 10. Ryan Newman, No. 31 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. Newman appeared sunk after absorbing significant damage in a four-car crash on Lap 257, but hard work from his RCR crew in making repairs buoyed Newman to a surprising top-10. 11. Aric Almirola, No. 43 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. After opening up 2014 with patchwork finishes of 39th, 15th, 25th, third and 43rd, Almirola has some consistency to crow about this season. "That's a big head start from last year!" Almirola tweeted after his second straight top-15 finish pushed him into a tie for eighth in Sprint Cup points. " MORE: Follow drivers on Social Drive 12. Carl Edwards, No. 19 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Edwards was the beneficiary of the race's next-to-last yellow flag, helping him recover from a seemingly disastrous flat tire in the 274th lap for a lead-lap finish. 13. Paul Menard, No. 27 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. The Wisconsin native couldn't shake the unluckiest of numbers, starting and finishing 13th as the final driver on the lead lap. 14. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The track that produced Kahne's last-ditch clincher into the Chase field last September wasn't so kind this time around. A pit-road penalty for a rolling-tire infraction in the 293rd lap forced the Hendrick Motorsports driver to make a pass-through on pit lane during green-flag conditions. 15. Casey Mears, No. 13 Chevrolet, Germain Racing. Sunday's top-15 finish wasn't quite the windfall the Germain team received from Mears' sixth-place run in the Daytona 500, but the solid day kept its driver in the same position in Sprint Cup points -- sixth. 16. Danica Patrick, No. 10 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Atlanta provided the backdrop for Patrick's career-best Sprint Cup finish of sixth place last season. While 16th place marked a slip in performance, the effort -- coupled with 21st place the previous week at Daytona -- launched Patrick into the final spot on the provisional Chase grid. 17. Regan Smith, No. 41 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Smith's second start as a substitute for suspended Kurt Busch had nearly the same result as the first, just one spot lower than his 16th place in the Daytona 500. The degree of difficulty may have been greater at Atlanta, though, after Smith's No. 41 was crumpled in a multicar fracas 20 laps from the end. " WATCH: Big wreck brings out the red flag 18. David Ragan, No. 18 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Ragan pushed the No. 18 car up into the top five in the early stages of his first start as a fill-in for injured Kyle Busch, but said he was "a little timid" in making needed adjustments as the 500-miler went on. "I felt like we had a good, solid top-10 car and things just didn't shake out," Ragan said. 19. Trevor Bayne, No. 6 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Bayne was at the head of the Roush Fenway class at Atlanta, but frustrated in finishing two laps down. The midpack result left him hoping to see the team's determination rewarded soon. "I see a lot of people trying to work together and that's where it starts," Bayne said. "We obviously haven't seen any results as far as speed is concerned." 20. Justin Allgaier, No. 51 Chevrolet, HScott Motorsports. Allgaier made the most of his survival instinct after two instances of evasive action in the race's late stages. The second-year driver brushed the wall avoiding the Lap 257 pile-up that snared four cars, then dipped to the apron to dodge the Lap 305 snarl that grabbed seven more competitors. 21. Sam Hornish Jr., No. 9 Ford, Richard Petty Motorsports. Inopportune timing put Hornish in the path of debris from Austin Dillon's blown tire in the 60th lap. Damage to the front end jolted the grille and left the RPM No. 9 crew fighting an uphill battle for most of the race; his own flat tire and a later brush with the wall only compounded the trouble. 22. David Gilliland, No. 38 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. Gilliland pressed on after a bump from behind in the four-car crash on the 257th lap. He also stayed on the track during the race's fourth yellow flag to lead a lap for the first time at Atlanta since March 2010. 23. Alex Bowman, No. 7 Chevrolet, Tommy Baldwin Racing. After failing to qualify for the season-opening Daytona 500, Bowman opened his season at Atlanta as one of the biggest movers in a race filled with them. The second-year Sprint Cup driver gained 19 spots from his starting position. 24. Clint Bowyer, No. 15 Toyota, Michael Waltrip Racing. Bowyer gained track position by staying on the track late in the race, but his day went from sour to downright acidic in a hurry. An engine issue developed with around 35 laps left, just before the race's final crash engulfed him with 20 to go. 25. Greg Biffle, No. 16 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. The Biff fought an ill-handling car most of the day, but lost the most ground when he overcooked his entry into Turn 3 on the race's next-to-last restart, igniting the race's biggest crash. 26. Kyle Larson, No. 42 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. The site of an eighth-place finish last season held much higher promise for 2014's Sunoco Rookie of the Year, but sustaining plenty of contact in the race's biggest crash near the finish prompted Larson to tweet afterward: "Such a frustrating race. Top 5 car but had no luck." " MORE: Follow drivers on Social Drive 27. Michael McDowell, No. 95 Ford, Leavine Family Racing. The small, family-owned team found some solace in McDowell's best result in five career starts at Atlanta, marking the first time he was running at the finish at the 1.54-mile venue. 28. Brendan Gaughan, No. 62 Chevrolet, Premium Motorsports. The Jay Robinson-owned start-up team recovered after failing to qualify for the Daytona 500 with Brian Scott. It marked the occasion of Gaughan's first Sprint Cup start since August 2013. 29. Michael Annett, No. 33 Chevrolet, Circle Sport Racing. Annett and Co. struck an 11th-hour deal to jump in the Joe Falk-owned ride after his regular HScott Motorsports No. 46 ride missed out on Coors Light Pole Qualifying. The last-minute move kept his goal of a complete Sprint Cup season alive. 30. Tony Stewart, No. 14 Chevrolet, Stewart-Haas Racing. Stewart was one of several drivers who started near the back of the pack after issues clearing Friday's pre-qualifying inspection. Smoke grappled with handling woes for much of the race, but matters got worse with involvement in the event's final multicar crash. 31. Mike Bliss, No. 32 Ford, GoFAS Racing. The 49-year-old veteran stayed on the track during a pair of early caution periods to pace two laps, marking his first lap led in the Sprint Cup Series since March 4, 2012 (Phoenix). It also was the first time since August 27, 2005 (Bristol) that Bliss has led multiple laps in a Sprint Cup race. 32. Josh Wise, No. 98 Ford, Phil Parsons Racing. Wise was among the first bitten by the new pit road officiating system, incurring a Lap 28 penalty for crew members coming over the wall too soon. Though seven laps down, Wise managed his best finish in three career starts at Atlanta. 33. Joe Nemechek, No. 34 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. The man with the Front Row nickname made his first appearance in Front Row Motorsports equipment, but contact from Greg Biffle's spin left his car and hopes dented for his first Sprint Cup event of the year. 34. JJ Yeley, No. 23 Toyota, BK Racing. Slight damage from debris early in the race slowed Yeley, who managed to improve upon the 40th-place result from the season-opening Daytona 500. 35. Jeb Burton, No. 26 Toyota, BK Racing. As the only rookie in the 43-car field, Burton made his Sprint Cup debut, forging on after a mid-race scrape with the wall. 36. Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Ford, Roush Fenway Racing. Stenhouse played the role of pinball in the race's biggest crash; though several cars were involved, the No. 17 was the only one unable to continue. 37. Cole Whitt, No. 35 Ford, Front Row Motorsports. An engine that would've made a 400-mile distance couldn't quite withstand the full 500, first dropping a cylinder before expiring altogether, dumping fluid on the track and causing the race's next-to-last caution period. 38. Denny Hamlin, No. 11 Toyota, Joe Gibbs Racing. Hamlin led twice for 14 laps, but found himself sideways in the middle of the track when he lost control on a late-race restart. Three more cars piled in, prompting Hamlin to offer sympathies: "I apologize to all those cars involved, but it's tough." " WATCH: Hamlin spins and collects several drivers 39. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet, Richard Childress Racing. A pair of rear tire troubles in rapid succession, both of which sprayed debris on the 1.54-mile track, derailed Dillon's day. The second instance, with the car already laboring from earlier damage, sent the RCR No. 3 off into the muddy infield and later behind the wall for extensive repairs. " WATCH: Dillon spins after cutting a tire 40. Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Chevrolet, Chip Ganassi Racing. After starting third, Jamie Mac didn't have visions of finishing in the bottom five Sunday at Atlanta. The tangle that also thwarted three others when Denny Hamlin lost control took him by surprise: "I didn't see any of that coming," McMurray said. "That was kind of out of the blue." 41. Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Chevrolet, Hendrick Motorsports. The four-time champion drew a Lap 24 tribute from the track with his car number blanketing the main scoring pylon early on, but enduring a crash for the second straight week has his final full Sprint Cup season off to a ragged start. Finishes of 33rd at Daytona and 41st at Atlanta have relegated Gordon to a tie for 35th place in the points standings. " WATCH: Big wreck brings out red flag 42. Ron Hornaday Jr., No. 30 Chevrolet, The Motorsports Group. After failing to qualify for the Daytona 500, the four-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion made his first Sprint Cup start since 2003 on Sunday. The Curtis Key-owned start-up team parked just past the halfway point at Atlanta with a rear gearing malfunction. 43. Landon Cassill, No. 40 Chevrolet, Hillman Smith Motorsports. Starting last, Cassill seemingly had nowhere to go but up at Atlanta. Instead, the 25-year-old driver stayed level as the race's first retiree for the second straight week, posting consecutive 43rd-place finishes after two engine failures to start the season. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Nickelodeon signs on for title sponsorship of Sprint Cup race in May Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live Nickelodeon announced Monday that it has joined forced with Kansas Speedway for a unique entitlement sponsorship for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race May 9, now called the SpongeBob SquarePants 400. The deal with the children's TV network and the long-running animated series, which began in 1999, expands NASCAR's reach to a younger demographic. Plans are already afoot for costumed character appearances and a SpongeBob SquarePants photo station in the Kansas Speedway Fan Zone. "The SpongeBob SquarePants 400 gives Nickelodeon the opportunity to expand its relationship with NASCAR, while working with a best-in-class track to give fans a unique, engaging and high-quality race experience that the whole family can enjoy," said Pam Kaufman, Chief Marketing Officer and President of Consumer Products for Nickelodeon Group. "Nickelodeon has embarked on some great initiatives with NASCAR over the last 10 years, sponsoring and participating in marquee racing events that have resonated with motorsports fans across the country." Nickelodeon already has a tradition of partnership with NASCAR, dating back to 2004's sponsorship of the Lowe's Presents the SpongeBob SquarePants Movie 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in what is now known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch participated in SpongeBob SquarePants-themed cars, finishing third and fifth respectively behind race winner Mike Bliss. The network also brought the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Atlanta Motor Speedway last September. Conversely, NASCAR stars have taken part in plenty of Nickelodeon programming in recent years, including the Kids' Choice Awards (Danica Patrick, 2012 and 2013), Kids' Choice Sports Awards (Danica Patrick, 2014), Team Umizoomi (Jeff Gordon, 2012), Hammer Down (2014). Johnson is slated to appear in an episode of the Nick Jr. show Bubble Guppies this year. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Veteran driver will be one of several drivers to pilot No. 32 Ford Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live " Vote: Ultimate Daytona Moment Mike Bliss will be part of the Go FAS Racing lineup for the 2015 Sprint Cup Series season, the team announced on Tuesday. Bliss will join Bobby Labonte and Boris Said as drivers of the No. 32 Ford Fusion for select races in 2015. His first start for the team will come in the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on March 1 (1 p.m. ET, FOX) "With the top tier teams expanding, we believe our best strategy is to fill the seat with veterans who have performed well in the past," said team owner Archie St. Hilarie in a release provided by the team. "This helps ensure we maintain a healthy standing in the points as the season progresses. Mike Bliss has proven time and time again that he can be competitive in the Sprint Cup Series, while bringing the car home in one piece, which is crucial for a small organization like us." The 2002 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion made eight Sprint Cup Series starts last season for both BK Racing in the No. 93 Toyota and Tommy Baldwin Racing in the No. 37 Chevrolet. His best finish was a 35th-place finish at Richmond International Raceway in September. "I'm really excited to be driving for Archie St. Hilarie and Go FAS Racing in the Sprint Cup Series," Bliss said in a team release. "I'm really thankful for the opportunity to drive the No. 32 and achieving some good finishes that will help solidify the teams position in the point standings for the 2015 season." The 49-year-old Bliss has made 169 premier series starts with his lone top-five coming in 2004 in the Richmond fall race. For the past seven seasons, he has run a full-time XFINITY Series schedule and will do so again in 2015 for TriStar Motorsports. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Nominee for the NASCAR Hall of Fame
XFINITY Series regular gives up seat in No. 33 Sprint Cup car Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live HAMPTON, Ga.—It's nice to have friends in the garage. Just ask Michael Annett. One of 13 drivers whose cars failed to get through NASCAR technical inspection before Friday's qualifying session, Annett would have been heading home from Atlanta had it not been for his good friend Brian Scott and Mike Hillman Sr., team manager of the No. 33 Chevrolet owned by Joe Falk. Scott had qualified 32nd for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 but agreed to give up his seat in favor of Annett, whose regular crew chief, Jay Guy, will call the race. NASCAR approved the driver change. "It's a big deal," Annett said before Saturday's first practice. "I can't thank Mike Hillman and Brian Scott enough. We'd rather be in the (No.) 46 HScott Motorsport car, but we're running full-time and we need as many driver's points as we can get. "Unfortunately, we won't get any owner's points for this, but being with a new crew chief, with Jay Guy, it's another hour-and-half of practice and another 500 miles (on Sunday) to work together. "So looking back, we could have either gone home and watched this race or be able to work together so when we go to Las Vegas we're even stronger. I can't thank these guys enough for giving us this opportunity." MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Daytona 500 winner and runner-up will line up 1-2 at Atlanta RELATED: Full race lineup " Photos of the full 43-car field HAMPTON, Ga. -- When you're hot, you're hot. Joey Logano, last week's Daytona 500 winner, didn't slow down one iota on Friday in the first competition of the year at an open-motor track. With a lap at 194.683 mph in the final round of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series knockout qualifying at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Logano put his No. 22 Team Penske Ford on the pole for Sunday's Fold of Honor QuikTrip 500 (1 p.m. ET on FOX). Logano toured the 1.54-mile intermediate speedway in 28.477 seconds, .131 seconds faster than the lap at 193.793 mph posted by reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kevin Harvick. Jamie McMurray was third fastest at 193.623 mph. Denny Hamlin (193.400 mph) qualified fourth for the second race of the season, followed by new Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Carl Edwards (193.137 mph). Like Logano, Jeff Gordon was hot, but for a completely different reason. Gordon was one of 13 drivers whose car failed to clear inspection before time trials began, even though NASCAR delayed the start of qualifying for 15 minutes. Accordingly, Gordon was not allowed to make a qualifying attempt in the first round. The list of those who failed to pass pre-qualifying inspection included three other past champions: Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Tony Stewart. Logano and his team, on the other hand, did everything right. And he defied conventional wisdom on a track with old pavement that typically abrades tires. Logano posted his fastest lap of the session in the third and final round. "Our first run today in practice, we were faster on our second run on scuffs, so I knew that the grip would stay in the tires for at least two runs," said Logano, who won his first Coors Light Pole Award at Atlanta and the ninth of his career. "I didn't know about the third run, but apparently the third run also… "It was probably right at the limit, though. Probably the next run after that, it would have taken a pretty big jump down." Though Harvick qualified second, he believes he'll have a strong long-run car in Sunday’s race. Even so, Harvick felt he left some speed out on the race track. "I just did a bad job," he said. "In Round 1 I missed Turn 1, and in the last round, I missed Turn 1 again and just didn't get to the bottom like I needed to in order to get back in the throttle." Note: Mike Wallace, Matt DiBenedetto, Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson failed to qualify for Sunday's race. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today
Gordon, Stewart, Kenseth and Johnson among those that couldn't get out Play: NASCAR Fantasy Live WATCH: Richard Buck explains inspection process HAMPTON, Ga. – Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano won the pole for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race here at Atlanta Motor Speedway (1 p.m. ET, FOX). Thirteen others didn't fare quite so well, never getting the opportunity to make a lap on the 1.54-mile track as Coors Light Pole Qualifying for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 got underway. RELATED: Logano wins Coors Light Pole Award " Qualifying speeds Originally scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m. ET, the start of qualifying for the season's second race was postponed 15 minutes due to the large number of cars still going through the pre-qualifying technical inspection process. According to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director Richard Buck, when officials gave notice that qualifying was underway, all 47 cars entered in the race had made at least one pass through inspection. "We did see the area of the laser inspection station where teams were pushing it," Buck said. "And that's their job. They're trying to get every bit that they can. "Our goal is to make sure everybody has a fair opportunity to get through there. Our focus was to make sure that we were able to run every car across there at least once … and that's what we did." Former series champions Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth were among those that didn't make it on track before the completion of the opening 15-minute qualifying round. "Yes we are pushing the limits," Gordon said, "but there is something wrong here. I'm embarrassed; I'm embarrassed for our series right now that this just happened." PHOTOS: Full starting lineup for the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Kenseth said he got an inkling that something was amiss when he headed out to pit road and saw "only 14 cars." "So I have a hard time believing it was the teams," the Joe Gibbs Racing driver said. Stewart took to Twitter to vent about what happened. I don't know what to say about today. Spent all of our practice working on qualifying. Didn't even get a chance to make a lap. Frustrating! — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) February 27, 2015 If we would have known this was going to happen, we could have worked on the race setup. Was a total waste of a day at the track — Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) February 27, 2015 This weekend's Sprint Cup Series race is the first featuring the 2015 rules package, a package that includes less downforce on the cars and less horsepower under the hood, along with several other changes. As such, it was the first time teams made the trip through an official pre-qualifying inspection. Buck said it became evident all teams wouldn't be able to be through inspection in time for the original 5:45 p.m. start, which is why it was delayed for 15 minutes. "We could see the trend starting to develop … our job was to try and work with the teams (and) allow them to meet the parameters, the rules we set in place," he said. "So we were able to push it 15 minutes to give them as much time as we could." Defending series champion Kevin Harvick qualified second, while Jamie McMurray, Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards completed the top five. Mike Wallace, Matt DiBenedetto, Michael Annett and Reed Sorenson failed to qualify. MORE: Strange things afoot at Atlanta Motor Speedway Johnson, a six-time series champion, will start 37th. "We are at a track that's very forgiving from a starting position standpoint," the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. "If you have a good race car, you've got a lot of room here, you can run anywhere on the track and get your way to the front. (There will be) a lot of trips down pit road for tires. We'll have plenty of opportunities to get there. … "I think we're all standing here in shock, wondering how did this happen?" Buck said the number of cars having to make multiple trips through the inspection line was nearly double what the sanctioning body sees during a typical weekend. "Today we had at least 20 (go back through)," he said. "We had more cars here than we've had. "A new downforce package, new rules package, new under pan, less horsepower, and so there was a lot of things that were put into this recipe that the cooks, if you will, in the garage area were trying to get the recipe right, and they were pushing the edge on everything." Gordon will start 35th, Kenseth 36th and Stewart 39th. To determine the full 43-car starting lineup, positions 1-34 went to those drivers that posted at least one official qualifying lap. Positions 35-43 were assigned to those entered based on 2014 final championship driver points standings. MORE: READ: Latest NASCAR news PLAY: Sign up for Fantasy Live WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView today FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Driver on heels of career-best finish in Nationwide Series Richard Childress Racing announced Tuesday that Mike Hillman Jr. will serve as crew chief for driver Brian Scott with the No. 2 Chevrolet team in the NASCAR XFINITY Series . Hillman, 36, won championships in the Camping World Truck Series with Todd Bodine in 2006 and 2010. Of his 20 wins in the truck tour, 19 came with Bodine and the other was delivered serving atop the pit box for Jeb Burton 's breakthrough victory in 2013. "This is a great opportunity for a guy like me to become part of RCR and the No. 2 Chevrolet team," Hillman said. "When we first talked about this position, I knew this was something I wanted to do and RCR is known for their storied success at every level in NASCAR. Brian Scott is a talented driver who is coming off the best season of his career. He and I share the same goals -- wanting to win multiple races and ultimately the XFINITY Series championship. With the team they already have in place, I am confident we will achieve our goals." Scott, 26, joined the Childress operation for the 2013 season and worked with crew chief Phil Gould the last two seasons in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, which will gain title sponsorship from XFINITY next year. Scott placed fourth in the overall standings, posting the best finish in his five full seasons in the series. "I look forward to building on what we have achieved the past two seasons with RCR," said Scott, who has five Coors Light Pole Awards but is still looking for his first victory in the series. " Mike Hillman Jr. is an excellent addition to our No. 2 Chevrolet team and has a proven track record of success and experience. I am more than confident he will take our team to Victory Lane and race for a championship. "We already have a great nucleus of people on our team and our XFINITY program is strong from top to bottom. With the momentum we had at the end of this past season, I feel confident about our 2015 hopes." Hillman, who starts his RCR tenure immediately, spent last season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series on a part-time basis, working with a variety of drivers in 13 races with Circle Sport Racing's No. 33 team. One of those was Scott; the two got a jump on developing chemistry in the season-ending Sprint Cup race, where the two combined for a 28th-place finish. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule