Ford Performance – Atlanta Motor Speedway 1 Advance


Even though he didn’t come away with a victory, Kevin Harvick showed his trademark consistency during the recently concluded West Coast swing.  After leading 36 laps during the late stages of Sunday’s race at Phoenix Raceway and running away from the field, an ill-timed caution with nine circuits remaining changed the race’s complexion.  The final result for Harvick was a fifth-place finish and completed a three-race stretch as one of only two drivers (Alex Bowman) to post top-10 finishes in each event.  Harvick, who was fifth at Auto Club Speedway and ninth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, is second in the point standings.



For the fourth consecutive week a different driver has led the way for Ford after Ryan Blaney was the manufacturer’s top finisher at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday in second place. Joey Logano topped the Blue Oval in the season-opening Daytona 500 with a runner-up effort while Kevin Harvick was fifth at Auto Club Speedway and Austin Cindric sixth in Las Vegas.




Brad Keselowski gave Mustang its first NASCAR Cup Series victory as he held off Martin Truex Jr. at the finish line to win the Folds of Honor 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2019. Keselowski, who was battling an illness all weekend and had Austin Cindric standing by in case he needed relief, led the final 33 laps to post his 28th career victory. In all, Ford led 177 of the 325 laps and won for the third straight year at the 1.5-mile track.



Kevin Harvick led eight times for a race-high 181 laps in winning the Folds of Honor 500 in 2018 and completing a sweep of the NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR XFINITY races.  After winning all three stages the day before in his Ford Mustang, Harvick took the first stage in the Cup race and then led the final 25 laps to post his 38th career victory and third with Ford.  Brad Keselowski finished second and Clint Bowyer third to give Ford a 1-2-3 sweep.  Ford dominated from start to finish as four drivers combined to lead 272-of-325 laps.  Harvick became the first Ford driver to sweep a Cup/XFINITY weekend since Joey Logano did it in 2015 at Watkins Glen International.


Morgan Shepherd captured Ford’s 400th series victory in 1993 when snow delayed the Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 for nearly a week. The original race date was Sunday, March 14, 1992, but a blizzard that would eventually be called the ‘Storm of the Century’ pounded the Atlanta area with 6-8 inches of snow.  An estimated 82,000 fans came back the following Saturday, where they were greeted by souvenir rigs with t-shirts proclaiming ‘I Survived the Atlanta Blizzard 500.’  When the race started, Mark Martin had the dominant car as he led 140 of the first 225 laps, but engine problems put him out of the running and Shepherd took advantage as he stretched his fuel mileage to the finish, leading the final 12 laps and winning by a whopping 23.50 seconds.  The win for Shepherd, who was 51 at the time, was his fourth and final victory in the NASCAR Cup Series.



Marvin Panch was the first driver to sweep both AMS races in a single season when he did it in 1965 with the Wood Brothers.  Georgia native Bill Elliott posted a pair of season sweeps (1985 and 1992) and won five times overall while Carl Edwards registered the first win of his career at the speedway in 2005 and matched it later that fall.



Ford went to victory lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time in 1961 when NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen captured the Festival 250 on July 9 while driving for Holman-Moody.  He did it in dominating fashion as well by lapping the field.  Lorenzen, who led 52 laps on the day, beat runner-up Bob Welborn by one lap in his 1961 Ford.  Richard Petty finished third that afternoon, but was three laps down.  That victory served as a springboard for Lorenzen’s future success at AMS, which included becoming the first driver to win the Atlanta 500 three straight years (1962-63-64).



Riley Herbst kept his season-opening Top 10 streak intact last weekend with a fourth-place finish at Phoenix Raceway. That marked his best run of the year, following an eighth-place effort in Las Vegas, seventh-place run in Fontana and sixth-place showing in Daytona. If you go back to the end of the 2022 season, Herbst now has seven straight Top 10 finishes and comes into Saturday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway fifth in the point standings.



It’s only been two races for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, but Ford currently dominates the standings with four F-150 drivers holding down spots in the Top 5. Zane Smith, who took the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, leads the series by two points over second-place Ty Majeski – the first of three ThorSport drivers in the Top 5.  Teammates Matt Crafton and Ben Rhodes are fourth and fifth, respectively.  Crafton is the only current driver on the Ford roster with a series win at Atlanta Motor Speedway with that coming in 2015.


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