Kahne Scores First Atlanta Top-Five Since Victory in 2014
HAMPTON, Ga.— Kasey Kahne scored a top-five finished at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Kahne was the highest finishing driver from the Hendrick Motorsports stable. Kahne has been considered the “sleeper” at Hendrick Motorsports over the past couple seasons. This run is Kahne’s best finish at the track since his victory back in 2014.
Kahne started the race from the 29th position, but battled throughout the race to strive for contention for the victory.
“We started really slow. I was so loose and the adjustments were perfect today. They fixed the car. Keith (Rodden, crew chief) and the engineers did a great job of making the car better; a lot better at that. But then when you’re behind you just battle and battle long runs. It was tough,” said Kahne.
Unlike recent years, Kahne was able to dig himself out of a hole.
“A lot because that is actually really hard to do. It’s hard to do when you are one of the best teams and drivers and running up front all the time and you get back there, it’s tough to dig out of. For us, the last year or two it’s been really hard and today we did it, so that was really nice to see and nice to be part of and we will just keep building from there. It feels really good to dig out of where we started. It wasn’t good at the start,” said Kahne.
Kahne finished seventh at Daytona. The season has started out on a high note for Kahne, as he hopes to continue the momentum throughout the 2017 season.
Keselowski Spoils Atlanta Race
HAMPTON, Ga.— In a race dominated by Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski was able to gain the victory after a pit road mishap in the closing laps by Harvick in the Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is his 22nd career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. This is his first career win at Atlanta.
"You never know. That’s how these races are. We had a lot of adversity today there’s not doubt about that. These races aren’t easy. They’re 500 miles and a lot can happen and when you think you’ve got it they slip away. I know how it goes,” said Keselowski post-race. “This one kind of fell in our lap at the end and my team put it all together when it counted. They gave me a great Autotrader Ford Fusion and we were able to get by Kyle (Larson) there at the end. I knew that he wasn’t going to be easy to pass. His car was great and I was able to make the right moves to get by him."
The first stage saw the dominance of Harvick. Keselowski was the silent force in second through much of the first segment. The early stages saw Joey Logano and Jamie McMurray tag each other and the wall, but both drivers were able to continue. Harvick won the first stage, Keselowski was second, Chase Elliott was third, Martin Truex Jr. was fourth, and Logano rounded out the top-five. Harvick wins race of pit road.
The second stage saw the continued dominance of Harvick. Keselowski began to use the short pitting strategy towards the middle of the segment. As green flag pit stops occurred, Keselowski cycled to the lead for only 12 laps. However, with newer tires for Harvick, he quickly regained the lead to win the second stage. Elliott finished second, Ryan Newman finished third, Truex Jr. finished fourth, and Kyle Larson rounded out the top-five.
The third stage was one of magic for Keselowski and his team. As the third stage began to progress, weather began to change the complexion of the race. In the earlier portion of the third stage, Keselowski began to grab the handling back in his vehicle. The race began to change as drivers were getting caught for speeding on pit road. The caution flew for debris and then for a blew engine. As the leaders hit pit road, Keselowski was able to win the race off pit road. However, Keselowski had to go back down pit road to make sure all the lug nuts were tight on the tires. After the issue, Keselowski was able to put himself in prime position on the final restart. The final caution of the race flew as Austin Dillon was stopped on the racetrack due to battery issues. Keselowski started second on the restart after Larson assumed the lead. Keselowski and Larson battled for the top position. Larson would run the high side, but Keselowski used the low lane to pass Larson and grab the victory.
Larson finished second, Kenseth finished third, Kasey Kahne finished fourth, and Elliott rounded out the top-five.
The race was slowed six times for 32 laps. There were nine different lead changes among five different drivers.
Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is a trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Kobalt Tools 400. The race will be broadcasted on Performance Racing Network and FOX beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST.
Is the Fate of Atlanta in Jeoprady?
HAMPTON, Ga.-- Before the green flag falls for today’s Folds of Honor QuickTrip 500. Marcus Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Speedway Motorsports Inc., went on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio with Claire B. Lang to talk about the repaving of Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS).
Earlier this year, AMS announced that the track would be repaved following the race. The last repave was in 1997.
“I want to sign all the drivers up on the glue team to help us glue the track back together. It’s something that we are definitely looking into. I love all the positive comments we’ve gotten. We’re just going to look into it,” said Smith to SiriusXM.
This news comes as the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor’s Authority (LVCVA) is scheduled to vote on Wednesday to provide funding to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to host a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event, mainly in the playoffs. This vote would be a $2.5 million a year sponsorship agreement scheduled to run until 2024.
“The proposed NASCAR sponsorship will be considered for approval by our board of directors at the March 8 meeting,” the LVCVA said in a statement. “Until the board votes on the proposal, it’s premature for us to comment on it. We have a great relationship with Las Vegas Motor Speedway and NASCAR and we look forward to continuing the partnership.”
NASCAR was quick to release a statement about the 2018 schedule.
“We are constantly working with promoters to discuss and develop NASCAR schedules,” Jim Cassidy, senior vice president of racing operations and NASCAR events, said in a statement. “We have not finalized any schedules for 2018 or beyond but will announce them as they become final.”
Bell Dominates In Atlanta
HAMPTON, Ga.— Christopher Bell sweeps all three stages to win the Active Pest Control 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is Kyle Busch Motorsports first win at Atlanta. This is Bell’s third career win.
“I was just trying to do everything I could to make sure I got a good restart and I didnt get momentum broke. These truck races are really tough to get restarts going because it is so aero-dependent. You get all sorts of momentum or get all sorts of momentum taken away,” said Bell post-race.
Bell started from the pole position and chose the inside lane, which proved to be the stronger lane. The outside lane would not get momentum and that proved to be a winner for Bell. The caution flew on the first lap for a spin that included Brett Moffitt and Noah Gragson. On the restart, Bell continued to chose the bottom lane. As the field battled for position behind Bell, he was able to pull away. The caution flew for possible oil on the track from Chase Elliott. During that restart, Bell was able to pull away from the outside lane with help from Matt Crafton. Crafton came close to putting pressure on Bell, but was unable to do so giving Bell the stage victory. Kyle Busch was second, Matt Crafton was third, Ben Rhodes was fourth, and Austin Cindric rounded out the top-five. As the leaders hit pit road, Bell won the race off pit road as Busch had to make a chassis adjustment to the left and right side of the car.
When the second stage began, Bell was able to get a great restart and set sail on the field. The caution flew on lap 51 for oil on the track from Busch. Bell was able to once again set sail on the restart to go on to dominate the stage. Busch was second, Rhodes was third, Timothy was fourth, and Crafton rounded out the top-five at the conclusion of the stage.
To start the third stage, Bell was unable to get a good restart because he spun his tires giving Busch the lead. Rhodes was trying to battle Busch for the lead, but the caution flew for a spin by Tommy Joe Martins. On the restart, Busch was able to set sail with the lead as the outside lane gets stacked up. The caution then flew for a spin by Jordan Anderson on lap 105. All the leaders pit. However, Grant Enfinger stayed out on old tires while Austin Dillon took two tires. That strategy sent both drivers towards the back of the field since everyone behind them had four fresh tires. Crafton was able to grab the lead, but Bell was coming quickly to pass Crafton. With six laps to go, Cindric spun bringing out the caution setting out for a green-white-checkered finish. Bell and Crafton were in a dead heat on the restart, but Bell was able to prevail for the victory.
Crafton finished second, Johnny Sauter finished third, Rhodes finished fourth, and Elliott was able to round out the top-five.
Next up for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is a month off before heading to Martinsville Speedway on April 1st for the Alpha Energy Solutions 250. Coverage will be on FOX and Motor Racing Network beginning at 3:00 p.m. EST.
Busch Scores Second Straight at Atlanta
HAMPTON, Ga.— Holding off lapped traffic and a late race charge by Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch was able to win the Rinnai 250 from Atlanta Motor Speedway. This is his 87th career victory in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This is his second straight win at Atlanta.
“We weren’t great early on, and weren’t great for the middle. Scott Graves and these guys worked on it all day long,” said Busch after the race in victory lane.
Busch started the race from the pole. Busch as able to get a jump on the start of the race because the outside lane was unable to get moving. The caution flew for the first time of the race when Austin Dillon spun collecting Blake Koch coming off of the second turn. On the restart, Busch got the lead on the restart, but lost the lead coming off the backstretch to Brad Keselowski. Busch began to close in on Keselowski in the later laps of the opening stage as many drivers began to hit pit road. Keselowski won the stage, Busch finished second, Kevin Harvick finished third, Denny Hanlin finished fourth, and Daniel Hemric rounded out the top-five at the conclusion of the stage. All the leaders went down pit road to get four fresh Goodyear tires.
The second stage saw the outside lane get a terrible start as Keselowski would set sail with the lead. Busch and Harvick would battle for the second spot, but Busch was able to get the advantage. After pulling away from Harvick, Busch set his eyes on Keselowski. Busch was close to Keselowski but backed out to help conserve his tires for the end of the stage. Busch fell back to third after being passed by Harvick. Harvick went on to win the segment followed by Keselowski, Busch, Kyle Larson, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top-five. Brendan Gaughan made contact with the wall on the frontstretch.
Busch was quiet during the opening laps of the final stage. Hamlin brought out the caution for a spin in one due to tire failure, something he was battling throughout the final stage. Busch restarted on the outside lane, but couldn’t get the momentum. The caution flew again for fluid on the track. Busch and the leaders went down pit road. Busch was able to grab the race lead off pit road. Busch received a great restart since the outside couldn’t get going. Towards the end of the run, Busch was entering lapped traffic and almost lost the lead as he almost made contact with Harrison Rhodes. Keselowski came close to battle Busch with the lead, but failed to do so giving Busch the victory.
Keselowski finished second, Larson finished third, Harvick finished fourth, and Elliott Sadler finished n the fifth position.
Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the Boyd Gaming 300.. Fox Sports 1 and Performance Racing Network will have the call beginning at 4:00 p.m. EST.