Sunday, May 28

HAMPTON, Ga.—  Christopher Bell will start from the pole in today’s Active Pest Control 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway giving Kyle Busch Motorsports the sweep of the front row.

The opening round saw spin by Mike Harmon in turn one after just leaving the pit lane. Drivers were picking up about one to one and a half seconds when they hit the track. Christopher Bell was fastest at180.834 mph, Chase Briscoe was second fastest at 179.982 mph, Timothy Peters was third at 179.621 mph, Noah Grayson was fourth at 179.539 mph, and Austin Cindric rounded out the top-five at 179.447 mph. Norm Benning, Jennifer Jo Cobb, and J.J. Yeley will not start in the late Saturday afternoon race.

In the final round, Bell laid down a lap of 180.922 mph. Kyle Busch will qualified second at 180.105 mph, Cindric qualified third at 179.901 mph, Briscoe qualified fourth at 179.902 mph, and Alex Bowman rounded out the top-five at a speed of 179.557 mph.

The Active Pest Control 200 from Atlanta will begin at 4:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1 and Motor Racing Network.

HAMPTON, Ga.— The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) will bookend a busy Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway with the Active Pest Control 200.

36 drivers will be competing for 32 spots in the late Saturday afternoon spectacular. Notable drivers include Chase Elliot and Alex Bowman.

This will be the 16th race weekend at Atlanta for NCWTS teams. There have been 10 different pole winners. 11 different drivers have made their way into victory lane. Four different drivers have won the race from the pole. The last driver to do so was Ty Dillon in 2012. Ron Hornaday Jr. set the race record in 2005 at 142.424 mph. In 2005, Rick Crawford set the qualifying record at 192.735 mph.

Drivers are excited to return to Atlanta before their month long break.

"Atlanta is one of my favorite tracks that we go to in the Camping World Truck Series. It is really worn out, so it races really slick. It is line dependent, so you have to make sure that you consistently hit your marks every lap. I was really fast there last year and so were all of my KBM teammates. Kyle (Busch) is going to be racing this year and I can't wait to give him a run for his money,” said Christopher Bell.

"I'm really excited to get to Atlanta: We got to test there last month, and the entire team and I feel really confident in our Cooper Standard Ford F-150. It's always fun for me to go to places I've never raced at before and learn the racetrack, so Atlanta has been one place I've had circled on the schedule since long before the season started. It's known for having no grip, and you are sliding around a lot, so I really feel like that will play into a dirt guy's background. Hopefully we can continue our momentum from Daytona and get our first win of the year early in the season,” said Chase Briscoe.

"Last year at Atlanta I struggled to get the truck where I needed it early in the race. I learned a lot that weekend and by the end of the race, we had some good speed and were able to finish fifth. This weekend we're heading to a track that I have some experience on, combined with my crew chief Jeff Hensley, who has found lots of speed in the past. I look forward to a good weekend in Atlanta with our RIDE TV Toyota Tundra,” said Grant Enfinger.

Qualifying for the Active Pest Control 200 from Atlanta will be at 10:40 a.m. EST on Fox Sports 1. Motor Racing Network and Fox Sports 1 will have the race broadcast beginning at 4:30 p.m. EST.m

Over the offseason, NASCAR allowed drivers the opportunity to wear biometric devices on them during the course of an event.  Data from these devices has to be stored within the device. The device must be on the approved list provided b the sanctioning body.

Over the course of Daytona Speedweeks, numerous drivers took to social media to showcase what their bodies go through during the course of an event.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jamie McMurray, and Kyle Larson are just some of the drivers that went to Twitter to showcase their heart rate.

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series finished up 10 days at Daytona International Speedway to kick off the 2017 NASCAR season. Here are five takeaways from the weekend:

  1. Damaged Vehicle Policy: This is a step in the right direction for NASCAR. For those unfamiliar with the rule, let’s explain. If a car gets in an accident on track, they can attempt to fix the car on pit road for five minutes. If they take the car to the garage, the drivers day is done. However, time on the five-minute clock runs yellow line to yellow line on pit road. This is a great thing for NASCAR. The debate of ruining “sponsorship airtime” is ridiculous. Sunday’s Daytona 500 has ZERO debris cautions mostly in part to this policy. If you cannot fix your car in five minutes, then you probably shouldn’t be on the track. Kurt Busch was involved in accident, but his team was able to fix it in the time allotted to win the Daytona 500. The sample size is only one race weekend, gice it some time.
  2. Stages: Many fans have said that because of the stages, there were more wrecks all of Speedweeks. That is not the case. Every four to six years, the races in Daytona are considered a “Demolition Derby”. The last time that happened was 2012. If the stages were the cause of all the wrecks, then there would have been wrecks at stage end, but the caution never flew at stage end. So far, stages have been great, but there has only been one race weekend as a sample size. Let’s get through the West Coast Swing before we send judgment.
  3. Day Racing: The Advanced Auto Parts Clash was postponed from Saturday night to Sunday morning. The race saw action throughout. The track was cool to start, but as the race progressed the track warmed up causing handling issues. In my opinion, day racing provides higher quality of racing because of the challenge it provides the drivers.
  4. Toyota: Toyota came into the weekend with their typical game plan of working together. That game plan worked for most of Speedweeks until the Daytona 500. On the first pit stop of the day, all the Toyota drivers pitted. However, some of their drivers went a lap down due to pit road penalties. When the Toyota’s pitted all by themselves in the second stage, they were too far apart on the track when they came down pit road. When they exited pit road, it took them almost two laps to get hooked up which put many of them a lap down and involved in an accident. Toyota had the best strategy of all the manufacturers, but their execution was not the best.
  5. Brian France: Mr. France made an unprecedented comment about competition in the driver’s meeting before Sunday’s race. “But what I don’t normally do, and I’m going to do this today, is bring up a competition issue,” France said. “This is for the drivers. And what I want you to think about. We realize blocking is part of racing. We understand that. We accept that. Do not look for NASCAR … when you block somebody out there, and it’s going to happen today. It causes almost all the big incidents. Do not look for NASCAR … you better hope there’s a Good Samaritan behind you who is going to accept that block, because they have that lane and the right to it. And I don’t often make those statements. But I think it’s important today as we go into our most important event to make that really clear with our competitors.”  This announcement scratched heads everywhere. The intent of his message was unclear, especially to Steve O’Donnell. This comes on the heels of many reports that France does whatever he pleases without consulting others.

What are your five takeaways from Daytona Speedweeks?

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—   In an afternoon media availability with Toyota owners, Joe Gibbs was asked about the reports in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) concerning the issues within NASCAR Management. Coach Gibbs mentioned that he was interviewed for the article, but his quotes were not mentioned. 

 “I was interviewed for that article, and there wasn't one comment I made that was in that article, or there was no slant to anything in there,” said Gibbs.

Gibbs, as well as other owners on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series level, believe that the sport is in  a great position, despite the reports. 

 “When I look at the sport, and I go back to 2006 when I ran the Super Bowl in Detroit.  We were lucky to have 70,000 seats and to think about every weekend we have better than a Super Bowl 38 times.  People need to take that into consideration, and then as you stack the media and the social media on top of that, I think the connection is amazing and with the disruption we’re gonna have now with these three different segments, certainly when we announce a sponsorship like Shell yesterday for seven years and you see Fed Ex, I think that there’s never been more competition on the race track.  I think what we have to do as a group, the people in this room, we have to take a little different look at this,” said Penske.

Gibbs and Penske both mentioned the long-term commitments that Shell and FedEx announced this week to help validate their claims.

“We announced FedEx the other day, a new extension for them, a long‑term extension. There's three other sponsors that we also did that with our race team alone. We saw Shell come in and make a huge decision with Roger,” said Gibbs “We also have two new sponsors coming in that we can't announce right now that will probably be announced within the month, okay.’

The Wall Street Journal interviewed numerous executives within the sport, but did not include any portion of their interviews.

“My personal opinion. I just kind of felt like this thing was already going in a direction, and it was like when I was asked questions, it was, we're headed one direction, I don't care what you say. Now, maybe that's not fair and I know that, but I felt it. I felt that. I felt it personally. And I take it because this is all my family, J.D., Coy, all of us, all we do is race every day,” said Gibbs

Speedway Digest has reached out to Tripp Mickle and Valerie Baurlein, writers of the article, but have declined comment. However, The Wall Street Journal has talked to other media outlets stating they stand by the fair and accurate reporting from Mickle and Baurelin. Daytona International Speedway officials have confirmed that WSJ does not have a presence at the speedway during the weekends marquee event, the Daytona 500. 


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