Friday, Mar 24
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

Follow us on Twitter @SpeedwayDigest

Today, Quaker State solidified itself as a major player for years to come in the NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) with two significant announcements at Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Quaker State will be extending one of the longest running NCS race entitlements with the Quaker State 400, the summer event at AMS, and forming a new sponsorship and technical alliance with Trackhouse Racing.  

This year will see the 13th straight Quaker State 400, which began in 2011 at Kentucky Speedway and moved to Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2021. The multi-year extension retains the summer race at the newly resurfaced 1.54-mile speedway.     

Additionally, Quaker State is announcing a new alliance with one of the hottest teams in NASCAR, Trackhouse Racing, and their two NCS teams, the No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Ross Chastain and No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 driven by Daniel Suárez. 

“Today is a great day for the Quaker State brand,” said Steve Reindl, VP of Shell Lubricants North America.  “We are very proud to extend our relationship with Atlanta Motor Speedway and SMI, one of the longest running in the series in modern history. Additionally, we are thrilled to be joining forces with Trackhouse Racing, Justin Marks, Pitbull, Daniel Suárez and Ross Chastain.”

“Since its reconfiguration, Atlanta now hosts two of the most intense and intriguing races all year.   Add the fact that we are forming a new relationship with one of the fiercest up-and-coming teams in the Cup Series - and we have a lot to be excited about starting this year,” said Reindl.

NASCAR champions Kurt Busch and Chase Elliott have won each running of the Quaker State 400 on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s quad-oval in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Brad Keselowski was a three-time winner of the 267-lap race at Kentucky Speedway. Kyle Busch, who earned the first Cup victory at the racetrack in 2011, and Martin Truex Jr. each won twice.
Eleven of the 12 Quaker State 400 races have been won by a current or former NASCAR Cup champion. Rookie Cole Custer, in 2020, was the exception. 

“The Quaker State 400 and Atlanta Motor Speedway share a storied history of exciting NASCAR action,” said Atlanta Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Brandon Hutchison. “We’re looking forward to our first Quaker State 400 under the lights at AMS this summer and we’re thrilled to have Quaker State partnering with us to deliver incredible race weekend experiences for years to come.”

Trackhouse Racing, which was a single car team in the 2021 season, acquired Chip Ganassi Racing’s NASCAR assets at the end of the year, which enabled the team to expand to two full-time NASCAR Cup Series entries. Trackhouse experienced a breakout year in 2022 under its expansion, with both drivers finding victory lane and the NASCAR playoffs.

Suárez and Chastain have started strong in the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, earning multiple top-10 finishes in the first four races in their Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s.

In the agreement with Trackhouse, Quaker State will have branding on both cars and driver uniforms throughout the 2023 season. Quaker State will also be the primary sponsor on the No. 99 driven by Suárez at the NCS race at Richmond Raceway in April and the Quaker State 400 at AMS in July. 

“Quaker State represents everything we hoped to attract when we started Trackhouse Racing,” said team founder and owner Justin Marks. “A powerful, globally-recognized brand, that is committed to our racing team, as well as elevating our drivers in unique and engaging ways. Retail programs, guest hosting, influencer cross-overs and promotions really excite me as an owner because it continues to tell our collective stories. Additionally, the technical alliance is really important to our core product, which is delivering fast race cars each week that compete for wins and championships. As a racing historian, it is truly humbling just to carry the “Q” and colors on our race cars.”

The Quaker State brand has a long history with NASCAR and has enjoyed unprecedented success with some of its top race teams. Quaker State motor oil has been in NASCAR drivers’ engines for more than 7 million on-track miles, and more than 170 victories by some of the most-recognized drivers. Quaker State motor oils have helped deliver championships at each of the three levels of NASCAR, including 10 NASCAR Cup Series Championships. 

Quaker State’s high-quality full synthetic motor oils are specially formulated to deliver strong engine performance and are designed to protect today's sophisticated engines. As high-efficiency engines continue to develop and require low-viscosity oils, Quaker State will be ready to meet today’s requirements and prepare for future engine technology.


Christian Eckes took the checkered flag in thrilling fashion to capture the Fr8 208 Saturday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The win marked the 22-year-old’s third top-10 showing in as many races and second among the top five finishers.

“It’s what I came here and set out to do,” said Eckes. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it’s been a little bit emotional.”

Eckes edged second-place Nick Sanchez, who closed out regulation with the lead, by 0.078 seconds. Behind Sanchez were John Nemechek (+0.206), Bayley Currey (+0.435) and Ben Rhodes (+0.810) in the top five. The silver finish for Sanchez, the leader through regulation, was tops for his three career starts in the series. Nemechek led a race-best 53 laps.

Eckes’ first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win on the season – and second of his career – was bolstered by leading 35 of the 137 laps. He secured the checkered as the caution waved for a series of crashes that broke out as he crossed the finished line.

The overtime-forcing 10th caution of the race came out with five laps remaining and Sanchez in the lead, ultimately leading to Eckes prevailing out of turn 4 en route to hoisting the hardware.

Jack Wood spun out from the lead with 23 laps to go. He would finish 10th. Truck Series points leader Zane Smith’s started at the poll and crossed 20th among the field. Reigning Fr8 208 winner Corey Heim’s day ended when he jammed up behind Sanchez on a restart, completing only 83 laps.

Following Saturday afternoon’s Xfinity Series RAPTOR King of Tough 250 (5 p.m. ET, FS1, PRN, SiriusXM), the Ambetter Health 400 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) will conclude race weekend on Sunday.

Tickets and camping options for Sunday remain available at or by calling 877-9-AMS-TIX.


At the conclusion of the Fr8 208, Tyler Ankrum and the LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro was credited with a 26th place finishing position at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After running as high as third during stage three, Ankrum sits 12th in driver points for the 2023 Craftsman Truck Series season after three races.
To start the weekend on Friday afternoon, qualifying for the Fr8 208 was cancelled due to rain conditions. As a result, Tyler Ankrum and the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro would start 13th on race day. On Saturday, blustery cold conditions ruled the day as the green flag dropped on the Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Stage one was one of learning for Ankrum as the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro would be shuffled from the 13th starting position back to 22nd. Crew chief Doug Randolph would call Ankrum to pit road with three laps left in stage one for right side tires and an adjustment. This allowed Ankrum to cycle up into the top ten to start stage two.
The high line was the place to be for most of the day on Saturday. Ankrum would restart stage two in the eighth position. Ankrum would hang around the top ten for all of stage two and as a result, finished seventh gaining the ever valuable four stage points. At the conclusion of stage two, after a phenomenal pit stop by the LiUNA! pit crew, Ankrum came off pit road in position number five. After the choose cone, Ankrum started stage three in eighth.
Stage three started with the high line gaining energy from the drop of the green flag. After a quick caution, Randolph would call Ankrum back to pit road for a quick gas and go. This strategy call would see Ankrum get off pit road in the top five, and also be his last pit stop of the Fr8 208. Stage three was plagued with numerous cautions, which benefited the No. 16 LiUNA! Toyota Tundra TRD Pro, which was close on gas to end the race. The multiple cautions set up a green, white checkered finish. Ankrum would restart on the bottom for the final restart to gain track position. On the white flag lap, coming out of turn three, Ankrum was involved in an accident and could not make it back to the start finish line. After a strong showing throughout the race, Ankrum would finish in position number 26.
Tyler Ankrum Quote:
“Today’s results at Atlanta Motor Speedway doesn’t reflect what this team is doing at Hattori Racing Enterprises. It’s really a crap shoot at these super speedway style races. Doug put us in a great position at the end of stage one and we never left the top ten after that. These men and women that work on these trucks week in and week out keep bringing me great pieces to the track every week. I cannot put into words how proud I am of this team and LiUNA! for believing in me. I think we deserved to finish in the top five, but we will take what we learned here and move on to COTA.”

On Saturday’s Race at Atlanta: “These kind of races just happen. The Worldwide Express team put together a really great truck. We ran top-ten all day but it was just a difficult decision to decide lanes late in the race. At the end, we got a tire-rub and the tire went down instantly; but, that’s just part of it.”

After a seventh-place run two weeks ago in Las Vegas, Carson Hocevar was looking to make strides to build on his impressive start to the season. Unfortunately, a top-ten run throughout most of the race wouldn’t last as the No. 42 team had a tire go down, slamming the outside fence with under 15 laps to go.

From his fifth-place starting position, Hocevar was able to battle up front as the field ran a majority of the first stage in single-file formation. A caution on lap 23 would put a halt in the action and mix up strategy calls amongst the teams on pit road. Under the caution, Phil Gould would bring Hocevar down pit road for two tires and a small adjustment. This would put Hocevar mid-pack on the restart, leading to his 14th-place finish in the first stage.

As the second stage began, a handful of cautions would fly but the No. 42 team would remain on the racetrack and not visit pit road until the stage was over. Hocevar would secure a 17th-place finish in the second stage and would begin saving fuel to make it to the end on one more stop.

The final stage brought an abundance of cautions, including the final two cautions of the race which included Hocevar. A tire rub on the No. 42 Silverado cut the right-rear tire with just 11 laps remaining in the event. But, the repairs wouldn’t be enough as Hocevar was the cause of the next caution as well; getting into the wall once more which would end his day in 31st.

Niece Motorsports PR

On Saturday’s Race at Atlanta: “I think we did a really nice job today of being up front and competing. Track position was king so we had to sacrifice sometimes to stay up top. We could go where we wanted because the AUTOChargit truck was so fast; it was just unfortunate getting caught up in the incident with Carson.”

A top-20 finish in Las Vegas for Lawless Alan allowed the California driver to build upon his confidence from the year prior. While Alan was able to run inside the top-15 for a majority of the race in Atlanta, a busted radiator coming from an incident with his teammate would end his day with under 15 laps remaining.

Alan started the race in 21st and quickly made his way up into the top-15 as single-file train formed around the top of the racetrack. A caution late in the first stage would create a strategy opportunity for the No. 45 team to collect stage points. But ultimately, Alan finished just outside the top-ten, in twelfth in Stage One.

The second stage saw a few cautions throughout its running, but Alan stayed up front throughout the stage, ending in the 13th position when the green-white checkered flag flew. 

Unfortunately, the final stage of the event wouldn’t go as smooth for Alan and the AUTOChargit team as the caution flew on lap 124 for an incident involving Alan and his teammate, Carson Hocevar. After a tire blew on the truck in front of him, the California driver ran into Hocevar which would ultimately bust his radiator and lead to a 32nd-place finish.

Niece Motorsports PR

On His Best Career NASCAR Finish: “It’s awesome. I really wanted to come out here and get some good runs with these guys. I’m friends with all these guys so to come out here and have a great run with them, Unishippers and Worldwide Express is really cool.  I’m really excited to see what the future holds.”

After a trip out west to Las Vegas Motor Speedway two weeks prior, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series visited Atlanta Motor Speedway for the running of the Fr8 208. Currey started 30th due to qualifying being rained out and the lineup being set by the metric.

From his starting position in the rear of the field, Currey was able to make his way up into the top-20 by lap 20. Strategy came into play late in the first stage as the No. 41 team decided to take two tires and fuel under a late-stage caution to propel them to the front come the end of Stage One.

The second stage was relatively quiet for the Texas driver as cautions would fly throughout the segment, but no trips down pit road were made. Ultimately, Currey would finish 16th at the conclusion of the penultimate stage.

As the final stage began, Currey started inside the top-ten and cautions throughout a majority of the stage would keep him close to the front. But, the halts in the racing action didn’t slow Currey from making his way to fourth-place and battling for the lead as the race neared its end. After a green-white-checkered to end the race, Currey would finish 4th; his best finish in NASCAR competition.

Niece Motorsports PR

Hailie Deegan - No. 13 AdventHealth Ford F-150

Atlanta Race Information

Started: 32nd

Stage 1: 25th

Stage 2: 19th

Finished: 12th

Laps: 137/137

Laps Led: 0

Status: Running

Driver Points: 21st

Owner Points: 26th


“I think it was a great day. I think our goal going into this race was to hang back until it really means something. It means something at the end in the third stage, so we just hung back and waited, and I think it worked because there were a few times where I’d be in a good position to keep going forward and I’d tell myself, ‘This doesn’t feel good. Something is gonna happen.’ And then like a lap later all of a sudden something would happen, so I think we put ourselves in a good position to bring home a clean truck and be able to have it for Texas. That’s great because we have something to build off of and we’re not repairing something.”

Matt Crafton - No. 88 Menards/Great Lakes Flooring Ford F-150


Atlanta Race Information

Started: 8th

Stage 1: 4th

Stage 2: 1st

Finished: 9th

Laps: 137/137

Laps Led: 29

Status: Running

Driver Points: 2nd

Owner Points: 2nd


"I didn’t want to take the bat off my shoulder until I had to go to the bottom and try to see if I could make something work because we kept picking the top and the top would go, but then the bottom would slow as soon as we got all of those yellows in that quick spurt and we kept losing track position. So, as soon as I did it we ran a lot longer green, and I sank big time. All in all, this Menards Ford F-150 was good. It handled great and we just made very minor adjustments. We’re already up front. We led laps and did everything we needed to do today, but we just made that one mistake.”

Ty Majeski - No. 98 Curb Records Ford F-150

Atlanta Race Information

Started: 2nd

Stage 1: 6th

Stage 2: 2nd

Finished: 11th

Laps: 137/137

Laps Led: 0

Status: Running

Driver Points: 3rd

Owner Points: 3rd


“We just got behind. Our pit crew couldn’t get the gas engaged and we lost a lot of track position on that fuel only pit stop. We just never could recover. I tried the top and tried the bottom, but couldn’t really recover to get over that hump. All in all it was a solid points day. We wanted a top 10, but have to settle for 11th.”

Ben Rhodes - No. 99 Ford F-150

Atlanta Race Information

Started: 3rd

Stage 1: 8th

Stage 2: 4th

Finished: 5th

Laps: 137/137

Laps Led: 3

Status: Running

Driver Points: 4th

Owner Points: 4th


What were you thinking on the final restarts? “I thought we were in really good shape. The 2 and the 19, although they’re Chevy’s, I don’t think wanted to really work together. The 19 and I, Christian, we get along really good off the track. We worked really well together at Daytona and he’s kind of become my satellite teammate, I guess, and just comes from his time at ThorSport of being real teammates there. Congrats to Christian on winning it. I pushed him as hard as I could down the backstretch, but, again, I had a big run and I tried to take it. I lost my momentum getting loose like that, but there was no need for the whole truck to be destroyed for sixth place. I think right now it should be a top five and a fairly clean truck.”

ThorSport PR

Chase Purdy was in the mix for the win late in Saturday’s Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, running second with 15 laps remaining before getting shuffled back a few positions on a pair of late-race restarts. In the end, he would finish eighth as the race ended under caution in NASCAR overtime, giving him back-to-back top-10 finishes for the first time in his career.
Chase Purdy, Driver of the No. 4 Bama Buggies Chevrolet:
Talk about being up front competing for the win today.
“We had a really fast Bama Buggies No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Silverado – I thought we were going to have a shot there riding around in second letting laps die down. I was just riding waiting on the right opportunity when it was time to go – unfortunately we had some restarts that made things challenging. Some rows pushed harder than others and made it really hard for us. Overall, I’m really proud of everybody on this Bama Buggies Kyle Busch Motorsports Silverado. Everybody at KBM – we’ve got really fast trucks and I’m excited to go to COTA (Circuit of the Americas) and these next few races, I think we have something to prove.”
Fr8 208 Recap:
  • Christian Eckes won Saturday’s Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was his first win of 2023 and the second of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career. Nick Sanchez finished second, while John Hunter Nemechek, Bayley Currey and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top five.
  • There were 11 cautions for 58 laps and 17 lead changes among nine drivers.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Point Standings:
Purdy leaves the second event on the 2023 schedule eighth in the driver point standings, 34 tallies behind points leader Christian Eckes. 


Shortly after taking the lead with 20 laps remaining in Saturday’s Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jack Wood got one too many bumps from John Hunter Nemechek and went spinning down the backstretch bringing out the caution. Wood would rally back in the closing laps to earn his first top-10 finish of 2023 and second across 37 career Craftsman Truck Series starts.
Jack Wood, Driver of the No. 51 Logitech Chevrolet:
Talk about being up front competing for the win today.
“I think to start off with I was definitely a little conservative with the piece that we had. We were able to work some strategy and get ourselves to the front. When we got there, I thought the Logitech Silverado had plenty of speed to start on the bottom like we did, and two times in a row go up and take the lead. Overall, it was a good day. Kind of a bummer what happened with us and the 17 truck, but it’s another confidence builder for us. First top 10 for me this year, and all of our trucks were in the top 10. I think there are good things coming. We just need a little more time a little more time and we will be there. Proud of everybody!”
Fr8 208 Recap:
  • Christian Eckes won Saturday’s Fr8 208 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was his first win of 2023 and the second of his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series career. Nick Sanchez finished second, while John Hunter Nemechek, Bayley Currey and Ben Rhodes rounded out the top five.
  • There were 11 cautions for 58 laps and 17 lead changes among nine drivers, including Wood who led twice for two laps.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Owner Point Standings:
 The No. 51 team leaves the third event on the 2023 schedule 9th in the Craftsman Truck Series owner point standings


Austin Hill led for 103 of the 163 laps during the Xfinity Series RAPTOR King of Tough 250, but it was his efforts during the race’s final seconds which earned the Georgia native his second straight win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Hill, who grew up an hour from the 1.54-mile track and raced at the venue as a junior, held off a charging pack down the homestretch. Runner-up Daniel Hemric crossed 0.085 seconds behind Hill and Ryan Truex placed third. Parker Kligerman slid into fourth with Riley Herbst holding on for fifth.

“I knew it was going to be tough today,” Hill said. “We were on it all night. Once I got the lead, I knew that it was wreck-it-or-check-it.”

Hill joined Mark Martin and Kyle Busch as the only drivers to win three of the season’s first five Xfinity Series races.

Hemric made a valiant charge into the mix on the final lap and made contact with Kligerman moments before the finish.

“Obviously, mayhem happened on the (last) corner,” Hill added. “I have no idea how I saved it.”

Filling out the top-10 were Brett Moffitt, Josh Berry, John Hunter Nemechek, Sam Mayer and Justin Haley.

A track-record 12 caution periods extended the race well into the evening hours, but the action-packed finish undoubtedly made it well worth the wait.

Racing weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway culminates Sunday with the Ambetter Health 400 (3 p.m. ET, FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Tickets remain available at or by calling 877-9-AMS-TIX.



No right click

Please link the article.