NASCAR X-Finity Series:
Sat., 2/28: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Hisense 250, 1:30pm, PRN
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series:
Sun., 3/1: Atlanta Motor Speedway, Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, 12 noon, PRN
Schedule subject to changes due to high school basketball state playoffs
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NASCAR News (all content provided by John Singler, MRN Radio)
NEXT STOP … ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY … for Sunday’s Folds of Honor Quik-Trip 500, second race of the 2015 Sprint Cup Series. Teams got a head start on the weekend Thursday with a pair of practice sessions to test NASCAR’s new rules package that was not implemented for Budweiser Speedweeks in Daytona. It calls for reductions in downforce and horsepower. Sunday’s race is the first of many this season on mile-and-a-half ovals. Jamie McMurray had the fastest overall speed from Thursday’s two sessions, 191.549 miles per hour. Kyle Larson, his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, was second-quick with Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth completing the top five … For the first time since 2010, the Sprint Cup Series is competing at A-M-S in the early weeks of the season. After the speedway trimmed its annual schedule from two races to one, its Sprint Cup date fell on Labor Day weekend. But Darlington Raceway has returned the Bojangles’ Southern 500 to its traditional spot on the schedule in 2015, with Atlanta then moving back to its early-season weekend …Kasey Kahne is the defending winner and returns this week in hopes of becoming the first driver with back-to-back victories on the mile-and-a-half oval since Jimmie Johnson swept the 2007 season.
THE NASCAR X-FINITY SERIES … also is competing at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend with Saturday’s running of the Hisense 250. Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway and is bidding to become the first X-FINITY Series driver to open a year with back-to-back victories since Tony Stewart in 2008. Another victory Saturday would add to team owner Jack Roush’s track-record total of seven series wins … Eighteen-year-old Erik Jones will drive the Number-54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in place of Kyle Busch, who’s recovering from injuries suffered in a late-race crash during the X-FINITY Series opener in Daytona six days ago … There are a number of Sprint Cup Series drivers doing double duty and competing in Saturday’s race including Kevin Harvick, Sam Hornish Junior, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Larson and Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano … AND THE CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES … will cap off a Saturday doubleheader at A-M-S with the Hyundai Construction Equipment 200. Tyler Reddick of Brad Keselowski Racing was victorious in last weekend’s opener at Daytona. Another victory Saturday would mark the second time in three years that the Truck Series opened with a driver winning back-to-back races. Johnny Sauter doubled up in 2013 … Saturday marks the first time the Truck Series has competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway since August 2012, when Ty Dillon went to Victory Lane. He’s among the thirty-one drivers on the updated entry list for this weekend, in the Number-33 G-M-S Racing Chevrolet.
► There were no Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Rookie-of-the-Year contenders in last weekend’s season-opening Daytona 500, but Jeb Burton of B-K Racing is among the forty-seven drivers entered for Sunday’s race in Hampton, Georgia.
► With a twelfth-place finish in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Darrell Wallace Junior of Roush Fenway Racing has the early lead in the X-FINITY Series rookie standings. He holds a one-point edge over Josh Reaume, who finished twenty-third in the Alert Today Florida 300. Cale Conley is two points off the pace with Daniel Suarez fourth, just one point further back.
► A second-place finish (behind Tyler Reddick) in the season opener at Daytona lifted Erik Jones of Kyle Busch Motorsports into the top spot among Camping World Truck Series rookies. He’s three points ahead of Austin Theriault (TERRY-oh), who finished fourth in the Next-Era Energy Resources 250. Ray Black Junior, Korbin Forrister and Spencer Gallagher complete the top five.
TRACK INFORMATION: Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia, is a mile-and-a-half oval with twenty-four degrees of banking in the turns and five degrees on the straights. The length of the frontstretch is 2,332 feet, the backstretch eighteen hundred feet. Grandstand seating capacity is ninety-nine thousand.
52nd RUNNING OF THE FOLDS OF HONOR QUIK-TRIP 500 SPRINT CUP SERIES RACE
IN HAMPTON, GEORGIA … Sunday, 1:15 p.m. (ET)
Last Year’s Race: Was run in late summer with post-season berths on the line. Kasey Kahne charged past race leader Matt Kenseth coming out of the final restart and secured his spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup with a win. Moments earlier, Kahne seemed well on his way to victory when a late caution for contact between Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Junior sent teams scrambling to pit road for fresh tires and bunched the field. Two-tire stops for Kenseth and Paul Menard put them on the front row for the ensuing restart. But when Menard failed to get up to speed, there was contact from behind. He slid up the track, and pinched Kevin Harvick into the wall and out of contention. This left Kahne third on what turned out to be the decisive final restart. When the green flag flew, he darted up the middle of the track and raced by Kenseth to claim his first win of the season. Despite victory slipping from his grasp, Kenseth also clinched a “playoff” spot as the highest-placed non-winning driver in the standings with just one race left in the regular season … Tony Stewart returned to the track for the first time since his involvement in a fatal sprint car accident in New York State. He started fourteenth, but a blown tire sent him into the wall and out of the race with a forty-first-place finish.
Track Position at A-M-S: Eighty-five of the 107 Sprint Cup Series races run have been won from a starting position of tenth or better. Just nine winners have come from a starting position of twentieth or worse … Winning From the Pole in Hampton: Fourteen of 107 Cup Series races have been won from the pole position. The last driver to do it is Kahne in 2006 … Track Qualifying Record: Geoff Bodine (Ford) … 197.478 miles per hour … 28.074 seconds … November 1997 … Track Record, Race Speed: Bobby Labonte (Pontiac) … 159.904 mph … 3 hours, 7 minutes, 48 seconds … November 1997 … Practice Schedule: Friday from 1 to 2:25 p.m. (ET) … Saturday from 12 to 1:20 p.m. (ET) … Qualifying: TODAY at 5:45 p.m. (ET) … Kevin Harvick won the pole last year and finished nineteenth in the race.
24th RUNNING OF THE HISENSE 250 X-FINITY SERIES RACE
IN HAMPTON, GEORGIA … Saturday, 2:15 p.m. (ET)
Last Year’s Race: It took Kevin Harvick thirty-seven laps to put his Number-5 Junior Motorsports Chevrolet into the lead. But once he did, there was no looking back as Harvick cruised to his second straight victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway. In leading the final 159 laps, Harvick beat Joey Logano to the checkered flag by a half-second. Kyle Larson finished third and Kyle Busch was fourth, giving Sprint Cup Series drivers the top four finishing spots. Rookie points leader Chase Elliott, one of Harvick’s teammates, was the highest-finishing Nationwide (now X-FINITY) Series regular – in fifth place. Regan Smith was sixth in a third Junior Motorsports entry … Elliott started from the pole and led the first thirty-six laps before yielding to Harvick – who became just the third driver with back-to-back wins in the twenty-three-year history of the series at A-M-S, joining Mark Martin (1997-1998) and Jeff Burton (2006-2007) … Jack Roush leads all car owners with seven X-FINITY Series victories at A-M-S. Three of those wins were by Martin, two by Carl Edwards, and one each for Matt Kenseth and Ricky Stenhouse Junior … Harvick leads all active drivers with three Atlanta wins … Kyle Busch has a track-record four poles but is not competing this weekend, still recovering from injuries suffered during Budweiser Speedweeks in Daytona … Friday’s Practice Schedule: From 10 to 10:55 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. (ET) … Qualifying: Saturday at 9:10 a.m. (ET).
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
SUN 3/1, Atlanta Motor Speedway, TBD, TBD, PRN
SUN 3/8, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, TBD, 2pm, PRN
SUN 3/15, Phoenix Int'l Raceway, Camping World 500, 2pm, MRN
SUN 3/22, Auto Club Speedway of So. Cal., Auto Club 400, 2pm, MRN
SUN 3/29, Martinsville Speedway, STP 500, 12 noon, MRN
SAT 4/25, Richmond Int'l Raceway, Toyota Owners 400, 6pm, MRN
SUN 5/3, Talladega Superspeedway, Aaron's 499, 12:00 PM MRN
SAT 5/9, Kansas Speedway, 5-hour ENERGY 400 Benefiting Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), 6:30 PM MRN
SAT 5/16, Charlotte Motor Speedway, NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, 8:00 PM MRN
SUN 5/24, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Coca-Cola 600, 5:00 PM PRN
SUN 5/31, Dover Int'l Speedway, FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks, 12:00 PM MRN
SUN 6/7, Pocono Raceway, Pocono 400, 12:00 PM MRN
SUN 6/14, Michigan Int'l Speedway, Quicken Loans 400, 12:00 PM MRN
SUN 6/28, Sonoma Raceway, TBD, 2:00 PM PRN
SUN 7/5, Daytona Int'l Speedway, Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola, 6:30 PM MRN
SAT 7/11, Kentucky Speedway, TBD, 7:00 PM PRN
SUN 7/19, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, TBD, 12:00 PM PRN
SUN 7/26, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Brickyard 400, 12:00 PM IMS
SUN 8/2, Pocono Raceway, GoBowling.com 400, 12:00 PM MRN
SUN 8/9, Watkins Glen Int'l, Cheez-It 355 at The Glen, 12:00 PM MRN
SUN 8/16, Michigan Int'l Speedway, Pure Michigan 400, 12:00 PM MRN
SAT 8/22, Bristol Motor Speedway, TBD, 6:30 PM PRN
SUN 9/6, Darlington Raceway, Bojangles' Southern 500, 5:30 PM MRN
SAT 9/12, Richmond Int'l Raceway, Federated Auto Parts 400, 6:30 PM MRN
SUN 9/20, Chicagoland Speedway, MyAFibStory.com 400, 1:00 PM MRN
SUN 9/27, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, TBD, 1:00 PM PRN
SUN 10/4, Dover Int'l Speedway, AAA 400, 1:00 PM MRN
SAT 10/10, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Bank of America 500, 6:30 PM PRN
SUN 10/18, Kansas Speedway, Hollywood Casino 400, 1:00 PM MRN
SUN 10/25, Talladega Superspeedway, Geico 500, 1:00 PM MRN
SUN 11/1, Martinsville Speedway, Goody’s Headache Relief Shot 500, 12:30 PM MRN
SUN 11/8, Texas Motor Speedway, TBD, 2:00 PM PRN
SUN 11/15, Phoenix Int'l Raceway, Quicken Loans Race For Heroes 500, 2:00 PM MRN
SUN 11/22, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Ford EcoBoost 400, 2:00 PM MRN
FRI 12/4, Wynn Las Vegas, NV, NASCAR Awards Banquet, 8:00 PM MRN
NASCAR X-Finity Series
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Indy Car Series
2015 broadcast schedule to be released soon!