Wednesday, Jul 06
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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ADVANCE NOTES

Weekend Format

  • The weekend format and schedule in Atlanta features a lone qualifying session on Saturday, similar to the schedules employed at Talladega and Daytona.
  • Teams will qualify in single-car format Saturday at 11:35 a.m. ET, with the top-five in each round advancing to the final round to determine the pole sitter.

 

Buescher at Atlanta Motor Speedway

  • Buescher makes his ninth start at Atlanta this weekend where he has three top-10s. He most recently ran seventh there this spring, matching his best finish prior in the fall of 2021. He also ran ninth in 2019.
  • Overall he has a 17.3 average finishing position and has completed all but one lap dating back four events.
  • Buescher has a career-best qualifying effort of 13th in 2020, and a 21.9 average starting position overall.
  • He also finished fourth in the Xfinity Series there in 2015, one of his three NXS starts for RFK.

 

Travis Peterson at Atlanta Motor Speedway

  • Peterson was on the box as lead engineer for Buescher’s P7 finish at Atlanta this spring.
  • Peterson has been paired with Scott Graves as lead engineer for multiple seasons, working with drivers Ryan Newman, Ross Chastain, and Matt Kenseth. He was crew chief for Kenseth at the 2018 season finale in Homestead, as the No. 6 team finished sixth to close that campaign.

 

QUOTE WORTHY
Buescher on racing at Atlanta:
“The new asphalt is right on a razor’s edge, and the spring race was so tense the whole race. We’ve learned some stuff that will make it more comfortable going back, but it’ll still be tough with both the surface and the temperatures. As we say all the time, momentum is huge in our sport, and we’ve been up and down with it, so it’s time to turn it up and keep the solid finishes coming as we progress through the summer.”

 

Last Time Out
Buescher put together another impressive on a road course, finishing sixth Sunday at Road America for his fifth top-10 overall and second-straight on a road course.

 

On the Car

Fastenal, in its 12th season with RFK in 2022, makes its 11th appearance with the No. 17 this weekend. In its early days with RFK, Fastenal originally was a partner with the No. 99 team before moving over to the No. 17 team since. They were also the primary partner on the No. 60 Xfinity Series entry that captured the owner’s championship in 2011.

 

Fastenal will feature top suppliers MSA, ND Industries, Greenfield Industries, 3M and Nord-Lock, Inc. on Buescher’s Mustang as he competes this weekend. For more information on these suppliers, visit Fastenal.com, and stay up-do-date on social @FastenalCompany.

RFK PR

ADVANCE NOTES

Weekend Format

  • The weekend format and schedule in Atlanta features a lone qualifying session on Saturday, similar to the schedules employed at Talladega and Daytona.
  • Teams will qualify in single-car format Saturday at 11:35 a.m. ET, with the top-five in each round advancing to the final round to determine the pole sitter.

 

Keselowski at Atlanta Motor Speedway

  • Keselowski makes his 16th start at AMS this weekend, a track where he has two wins at with an average finish of 15th. He ran 12th in the spring race.
  • Keselowski won at the 1-mile track first in 2017 after starting fifth, and again in 2019. Overall he’s led laps in eight different Atlanta races, and finished inside the top-10 on nine occasions.
  • He finished top-10 in six-straight races from 2015-2020, including the pair of events he won. Outside the two victories, he has one runner-up result (2018), a third-place run (2012) and three ninth-place finishes.
  • Keselowski has a 14.8 average starting position at Atlanta with a career-best effort of P2 in 2014. Overall he’s started inside the top-10 five different times.
  • He also made eight Xfinity Series starts with six top-10s, including two P2 finishes. He also made four Truck starts.

 

Matt McCall at Atlanta Motor Speedway

  • McCall is one of the most recent Cup winners at Atlanta, leading Kurt Busch and the No. 1 team to victory in 2021. The team led 144 laps en route to McCall’s third Cup win overall.
  • Overall he has four top-10s on the Atlanta surface with a P3 finish in 2019, and a sixth-place run a year later.
  • McCall has an impressive 9.8 average qualifying effort with five starts inside the top-10, including a career-best second in 2016 with Jamie McMurray.

 

QUOTE WORTHY
Keselowski on racing at Atlanta:
“This race was obviously an experience back in the spring, and I think in some ways was a lot of folks expected, but in some way surprised us, as well. It’s definitely fast and racy, but it’s challenging with the new surface and figuring out how to navigate it as a Superspeedway. Excited to have our friends at Solomon Plumbing back on the car, and can’t wait to put on a great show for those folks and everyone come Sunday.”

Last Time Out

Keselowski unfortunately had mid-race issues at Road America and lost multiple laps to the leaders, ultimately finishing 33rd in the Kohler Generators Ford.

 

On the Car

Solomon Plumbing returns to the No. 6 machine for its third primary race. They originally joined the RFK fold as the primary for the Bristol Dirt race and Gateway.

RFK PR

The Story on Corey:
 
  • Corey Heim heads to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Saturday for his first road course start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series this season. Heim, who turned 20 on Tuesday, will be looking to bring home a little birthday week bonus at the 2.258-mile road course with it being the final race of the Triple Truck Challenge. The Georgia native cashed in on an extra $50,000 with his win at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway for the first leg of the Triple Truck Challenge. If he is able to get to victory lane on Saturday and win two of the three events, his bonus would increase to $150,000.
 
  • Saturday’s event will mark the first time that the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has raced at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course, but will be Heim’s third trip to the track. The Toyota Racing Development driver captured the pole and went on to finish seventh in last year’s ARCA Menards Series event at Mid-Ohio. To get more track time before Saturday’s Truck Series race, Heim raced in the Trans Am Series TA2 division at Mid-Ohio on June 26. He started 16th and finished eighth in the 38-lap event. He has one road course start in Truck Series action, an 18th-place finish at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International last year.
 
  • Across seven Truck Series starts this season, Heim has produced two wins, 61 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 18.6. The Georgia native picked up his first career Truck Series victory in just his fifth start earlier this season at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway and was also victorious at Gateway. He has led at least one lap in four of his seven starts this season and qualified inside the top five for each of his last five starts.
 
  • With two victories across his first 10 Truck Series starts, the 19-year-old driver is one of just 12 drivers in series history to net multiple victories in their first 10 starts. Kasey Kahne and Mike Skinner each produced five victories, Mark Martin collected four wins, Ron Hornaday Jr., Ted Musgrave and William Byron brought home three checkered flags and Heim, Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, Rich Bickle, Clint Bowyer and Tony Stewart all delivered two wins.
 
  • Heim is competing for the 2022 Truck Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. Despite only having competed in seven of the 14 events so far this season, he sits second in the standings, eight points behind Lawless Alan. Heim will look to join three other KBM drivers that have won the award, reigning winner Chandler Smith, William Byron (2016) and Erik Jones (2015).
 
  • In addition to his part-time Truck Series schedule Heim is competing in a six-race schedule for Venturini Motorsports in the ARCA Menards Series. Heim led 74 of 90 laps en route to the victory at Daytona in February to pick up his eighth career ARCA Menards Series victory. Across 40 career ARCA Menards Series starts he has produced 659 laps led, 29 top-five and 38 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.4. Heim finished second to Ty Gibbs in the 2021 ARCA Menards Series championship standings.
 
  • Mardy Lindley returned to KBM for his second season atop the pit box of the No. 51 team. Lindley has led his team to six wins since coming to KBM at the start of the 2021 season, including two with Heim and one with Kyle Busch this year. In 2021, his drivers produced three victories, two with Busch and one with Martin Truex Jr. Before arriving at KBM, Lindley guided his drivers to 32 wins and four ARCA Menards Series East championships since 2013, including back-to-back titles with Sam Mayer the last two seasons. Additionally, he earned the ARCA Menards Series Sioux Chief Showdown championship with Mayer in 2020. Lindley has called the shots for five races on road courses in Truck Series action recording one win, two top-five and two top-10 finishes. Kyle Busch collected the victory last month at Sonoma Raceway.
 
  • JBL, the authority in engineering superior sound, returns to KBM for an eighth season and will be the primary sponsor on Heim’s Toyota for 11 races this season including Saturday’s race at Mid-Ohio. 
 
 
Corey Heim, Driver Q&A:
 
What are your expectations heading into your first road course start of the season?
“I feel like our expectations are really high for this weekend. I’ve really made it a point to improve with these style of races – made a couple TA2 starts in the past year, including recently at Mid-Ohio. I’ve been there in a TA2 car and an ARCA car just getting laps and it’s the same course, so I’m hoping it’ll translate well. Really looking forward to it.”
 
You had a pole and a top-10 finish at Mid-Ohio in the ARCA Menards Series last year. Do you feel that the trucks will drive similar?
“I think it will be pretty similar based on all the sim work I’ve done in the last couple of months with my KBM team. Our JBL Tundra TRD Pro has been really good in sim and I feel like that has been a point of emphasis this year, as far as when we are really good in sim and I feel good about it, it translates very well to the real world as well. So, if it all translates well again, I think we’ll be really good.”
 
The 51 team had a near-win at COTA and a win with Kyle at Sonoma. Does that give you confidence heading into this weekend?
“For sure, Kyle (Busch) should’ve won COTA and did win Sonoma and think he led the most laps in both those races and had a lot of success. It’s definitely a privilege to be able to race a road course race with these guys with how fast they’ve been this year and hopefully that translates over for me as well.”
 
 
Corey Heim Career Highlights:
 
  • Picked up first career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway March 19, 2022 in just his fifth start. Across 10 career starts has two wins, 63 laps led, two top-five and three top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 18.2.
  • Made three Truck Series starts in 2021 with a best result of 11th coming at Martinsville Speedway in October.
  • Finished runner-up in the ARCA Menards Series championship standings in 2021 after collecting six wins, three poles, 406 laps led, 16 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 3.1 across 20 starts.
  •  Across 40 career ARCA Menards Series starts has eight wins, 659 laps led, 29 top-five and 38 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 4.4. Picked up his first career ARCA Menards Series victory at Kansas Speedway Oct. 16, 2020.
 
 
Corey Heim's No. 51 JBL Tundra TRD Pro:
 
KBM-71: The No. 51 JBL team will unload KBM-71 for Saturday’s race at Mid-Ohio. This is the same Tundra TRD Pro that KBM owner-driver Kyle Busch led 45 of 75 laps with en route to victory at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway last month. Busch also led a race-high 31 laps with it earlier this year at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Tex., but was relegated to a third-place finish after getting run over the course on the first lap of the second NASCAR overtime. John Hunter Nemechek finished second with KBM-71 in its maiden start last year at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. 
 
 
KBM Notes of Interest:
 
  • Across 38 starts on road courses, KBM drivers have earned two wins, 15 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 9.3 and an average finish of 11.7.
  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch earned his organization’s most recent road course win in June at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Erik Jones picked up KBM’s first road course victory in 2015 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont.
  • KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (95) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway Heim became the 18th different driver to win a Truck Series event for KBM. In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner's Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
  • With 40 victories, the No. 51 is the winningest number in KBM’s Truck Series fleet

KBM PR

There are six 1.5-mile ovals on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule in 2022. While Atlanta Motor Speedway is one of those six 1.5-mile ovals – 1.54-miles to be exact – the racing there is now much different than at its five counterparts.  

 

During the last offseason, Atlanta underwent a facelift with new pavement to replace the worn-out surface and increased banking in the turns from 24 to 28 degrees, with the track width varying from 55 feet to 40 feet. The frontstretch width is now 52 feet while the backstretch and turns at each end of the track are set at 42 and 40 feet wide, respectively.

 

The first race on the newly configured layout in March showed fans a completely different type of racing than they were used to seeing at Atlanta, and unlike any of the other 1.5-mile ovals on the schedule. While Atlanta is a mile or more shorter in length than Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway’s 2.5-mile oval and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway’s 2.66-mile oval, the changes made the racing Atlanta look more like it does at those two superspeedways.

 

Never one to back down from a challenge, Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M’S Crunchy Cookie Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), will head back to the new-look facility south of Atlanta to take on the still new track surface and configuration, and the kind of racing it brings. While it’s designed to facilitate more pack-style racing, there are still countless other unknowns thanks to the layout and the fact it’s just the second time the NextGen car has raced on the new configuration.

 

Long before the track underwent major changes, Atlanta was where the winning for Busch began with JGR in 2008. That was his first year with JGR, and he headed to Atlanta for the fourth Cup Series race of the season aiming to bring home the maiden victory for the team’s two new partners – Mars Wrigley with its SNICKERS brand, and Toyota. After leading a race-high 173 laps, Busch broke through for the first time in NASCAR’s top series for Toyota, which was in its second year of Cup Series competition and its first with JGR. Busch added an Atlanta Cup Series win in 2013 to go with eight top-five finishes and 11 top-10s over his career there.

 

So, as the Cup Series heads back to new-look Atlanta this weekend, Busch and the M&M’S Crunchy Cookie team know that while the track is listed as a 1.5-mile oval, there’s much more to it than meets the eye. He hopes to be able to figure out how to get up front and stay there in order to bring home his third Cup Series victory at Atlanta and first on the new configuration.  

 

KYLE BUSCH, Driver of the No. 18 M&M'S Crunchy Cookie Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing: 

 

Was Atlanta a lot like you expected before the first race after the new pavement and changes there?

 

“It was just as crazy as I expected. It literally got a facelift with a whole new track surface and layout and everything. Old Atlanta, you had the old asphalt and really had fast lap times to fire off, and then you had a lot of (tire) fall-off where lap times go down throughout the run. That led to having some guys come up through the field and others drop through the field, whether or not they were fast early in the run or slow late in the run, or vice versa. Back in the spring, it was more like what we expected it to be, like a Daytona or Talladega speedway race. We saw a lot of pack racing with some guys two-wide and maybe three-wide, and saw how wide the track got in the time we had on it. We’ll take what we can from the spring race there, what we did well and especially what not to do. Hoping we can figure out how to run up front and contend for the win with our M&M’S Crunchy Cookie Camry TRD.”

 

What are your memories of racing at Atlanta?


“I’ve won a few Truck Series races there. That was fun. I won for the first time in an Xfinity race there a few years ago, so that was very cool. I finished second three or four times, so it had been an Achilles heel for me, I guess. The Cup races there, I was really good or really bad, it seemed. Obviously, it’s a whole new ballgame there. We threw out our notes from the past during the spring race this year and we’ll just keep building on what we learned starting this weekend.”

 

You gave Toyota its first Cup Series win by scoring a victory at Atlanta in March 2008. What do you remember about that?

 

“Running in Atlanta and being able to put Toyota in victory lane for the first time, that was special for me and for Joe Gibbs Racing and everybody. Certainly, that was neat. We’ve been fortunate to be able to put Toyota and Mars in victory lane a lot more times over the years. With it being the last year for Mars in NASCAR, it’s fun to look back at that win and see all that we’ve accomplished since then. It was really neat to get SNICKERS and Toyota to victory lane, but also having been able to sustain that with a lot more wins since then with M&M’S, Skittles, Doublemint and all the Mars Wrigley brands being able to go out there and win with them over the years.”

 

KBM PR

Chandler Chatter:
 
  • Chandler Smith and the No. 18 team head to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 150. Smith will be looking to have a strong performance in front of over 200 guests that his primary sponsor Safelite will be hosting at the event. Safelite - the nation’s largest provider of vehicle glass repair, replacement and recalibration services – is headquartered about 60 miles southwest of the track in Columbus, Ohio. Safelite has been a primary sponsor at KBM since 2017 and has adorned the hood of Smith’s Toyota for all three of his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victories.
 
  • Saturday’s event will mark the first time that the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series has raced at the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road course. To prepare for Saturday’s event, Smith raced in the Trans Am Series TA2 division at Mid-Ohio on June 26. He was involved in an incident late in the race and finished 25th.
 
  • Smith has been solid on road courses this season in Truck Series action. He finished fifth at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Tex. in March and followed it up with another fifth-place finish last month at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. He will be piloting the same Tundra TRD Pro, KBM-72, in Saturday’s race that he did in both of those events.
 
  • With two races remaining before the playoffs start, the 20-year-old driver finds himself fourth in the Truck Series point standings, 35 points behind Zane Smith. Smith is locked into the playoffs via his win earlier this season at Las Vegs (Nev.) Motor Speedway. Through the first 14 events of the season Smith ranks first among Truck Series regulars in laps completed (1885) and quality passes (527), second in average finish (9.1), third in driver rating (99.1) and average starting position (7.9), and fourth in average running position (9.281). He has produced one win, 96 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his sophomore campaign. With nine races remaining this season, Smith has already matched the number of top-five and top-10 finishes he had in 2021.
 
  • The Georgia driver earned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 and finished eighth in the championship standings after producing two victories, one pole, 213 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first full-time season. He earned his first career Truck Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in September and in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway earned his first career pole and swept all three stages en route to his second victory.
 
  • Across 52 career Truck Series starts, the Toyota Racing Development driver had recorded three wins, one pole, 402 laps led, 20 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.5.
 
  • In addition to his Truck Series schedule in 2022, Smith is competing in a three-race schedule with Sam Hunt Racing (SHR). Smith finished 38th in his series debut at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway after a mid-race wreck and finished 21st at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway. His final race with SHR will come Oct. 22 at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway.
 
  • Veteran crew chief Danny Stockman will once again call the shots for Smith and the No. 18 team in 2022. Stockman’s drivers have produced six victories at KBM across his first two seasons, including two with Smith behind the wheel in 2021. The veteran crew chief captured a Truck Series championship with Austin Dillon in 2011 and also won an Xfinity Series championship with Dillon in 2013. Stockman’s drivers have collected two top-five and two top-10 finishes in Xfinity Series action at Mid-Ohio. His best result was a runner-up finish with Daniel Hemric in the 2017 event.
 
 
Chandler Smith, Driver Q&A:
 
You’ve finished fifth at both road courses this season. What do you contribute your success to?
“I’m no road course ace by any means, so I guess in past races it just had to be the lack of experience. Now that I’m getting laps under my belt, I’m getting better and better at it, and I’ve been trying a lot harder to master my craft on the road courses. I’ve still got a long way to go for sure, but after having a couple top fives now hopefully we can keep improving and work towards getting the Safelite Tundra TRD Pro in victory lane this weekend at Mid-Ohio.”
  
You recently competed in a TA2 race at Mid-Ohio. How beneficial will that be in getting you ready to race a truck there?
“Running the TA2 race at Mid-Ohio definitely helped a lot because I know how much grip the track actually has in it. I’ve been there before myself, so before that race all I had to go off was the TRD simulator. Now I actually have laps there in real life and that will be a big help with hopefully me being able to be up to speed quicker in practice and help Danny (Stockman, crew chief) and the guys get our Safelite Tundra TRD Pro dialed in for qualifying and the race.”
 
How cool will it be to have over 200 Safelite guests at the track this weekend cheering you on?
“It’s always cool to see as the Safelite associated at the race track having a good time. I’ve seen a lot of associates last year that were back again this year and a lot of them that are at the track for the first time. Having over 200 people come support me in their Safelite colors this week is going to be really cool. I can’t wait to see them all and hopefully we put on a good show for them.” 
 
 
Chandler Smith Career Highlights:
 
  • Across 52 career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts has recorded three wins, 402 laps led, 20 top-five and 27 top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 13.5.
  • Earned NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rookie of the Year honors in 2021 and finished eighth in the championship standings after producing two victories, one pole, 213 laps led, six top-five and nine top-10 finishes in his first full-time season. He earned his first career Truck Series victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in September and in the series finale at Phoenix (Ariz.) Raceway earned his first career pole and swept all three stages en route to his second victory.
  • Has posted an average finish of 29.5 across two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts in 2022, with a best result of 22nd coming at Dover (Del.) Motor Speedway.
  • Has collected nine wins, 10 poles, 1783 laps led, 22 top-five and 29 top-10 finishes en route to an average finish of 5.4 across 34 career ARCA Menards Series starts. 
 
 
Chandler Smith's No. 18 Safelite Tundra:
 
KBM-72: The No. 18 Safelite team will unload KBM-72 for Saturday’s race at Mid-Ohio. Smith has recorded top-five finishes with this Tundra TRD Pro in both road course events this season: Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Tex. and Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway.
 
KBM Notes of Interest:
 
  • Across 38 starts on road courses, KBM drivers have earned two wins, 15 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes, with an average starting position of 9.3 and an average finish of 11.7.
  • Owner-driver Kyle Busch earned his organization’s most recent road course win in June at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway. Erik Jones picked up KBM’s first road course victory in 2015 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont.
  • KBM holds the Camping World Truck Series records for most career wins (95) and most wins in a single season (14 in 2014). With his victory at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway, Corey Heim became the 18th different driver to win a Truck Series event for KBM. In addition to collecting a series-record seven Owner's Championships, the organization has produced two championship-winning drivers: Erik Jones (2015) and Christopher Bell (2017).
  • The No. 18, the number which was on the first Tundra that went to victory lane for KBM in 2010, has 24 career victories.

KBM PR

Notes of Interest

 

● After 18 races this season, Almirola is the only driver in the NASCAR Cup Series without a DNF (Did Not Finish). He has completed all but five laps of the 4,712 run this year – a 99.9 percent completion rate.

 

● Almirola’s track record at superspeedways provides a promising outlook for success at Atlanta this weekend, where drivers and teams once again are expecting pack-style racing akin to events at Daytona and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Almirola has two wins, seven top-fives, 13 top-10s and 84 laps led at Daytona and Talladega. Last June, he scored his eighth-consecutive top-10 at Talladega to tie the track record for most consecutive top-10s. The mark was originally set by Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt Jr., between April 2001 and October 2004. Almirola finished fifth in this year’s season-opening Daytona 500 and 13th at Talladega.

 

● In Almirola’s last start at Atlanta in March, the series’ first outing after the 62-year-old facility underwent a wholesale offseason redesign and repave, he led six laps in the final stage with a promising opportunity to win until the No. 1 car of Ross Chastain made contact to his bumper, ultimately turning him into the infield grass and causing damage to the No. 10 Smithfield Ford. Almirola stayed on the lead lap to finish 22nd.

 

● Driver Points: Almirola arrives at Atlanta 12th in the driver standings with 452 points, 172 out of first.

 

● Playoff Points: The No. 10 Ford driver sits 18th in the playoff point standings, 47 points behind the playoff cutoff line. Almirola has more driver points than six of the locked-in playoff drivers.

 

● FordPro.com: Ford Pro is a one-stop shop for commercial and government fleets designed to accelerate productivity and improve uptime, offering a portfolio of vehicles, software, charging, service and financing for any size business or industry. Ford Pro makes going electric easy by providing intelligent software tools and an end-to-end suite of charging solutions that work on Ford or non-Ford vehicles, in addition to offering electrified versions of the vehicles its customers already love – E-Transit and F-150 Lightning Pro.

 

● Almirola’s career: In 406 NASCAR Cup Series starts, Almirola has earned three wins, 28 top-five finishes, 89 top-10s, three poles, and has led 899 laps.

 

● One More Time: On Jan. 10, Almirola released a video on his YouTube channel announcing his retirement from fulltime NASCAR Cup Series racing after the 2022 season to spend more time with his family. His opening remarks were attributed to his grandfather’s mentorship. This year marks Almirola’s 11th fulltime Cup Series season. The official press release can be viewed here.

 

● Beyond the 10 YouTube Series: In 2022, Almirola is once again sharing his life beyond the No. 10 Smithfield Ford with season three of his award-winning YouTube series. Fans and media can subscribe on YouTube to see Almirola’s personality on and off the track. Episodes have already featured life as a dad, a husband and an athlete, and it gives fans a unique perspective on what goes on in the life of a professional NASCAR driver. Fans can also follow Almirola’s social media channels: @Aric_Almirola on Twitter and Instagram, and @AricAlmirola on Facebook.

 

● Almirola was the only NASCAR Cup Series driver to finish in the top-10 in this year’s opening three races. He finished fifth in the season-opening Daytona 500 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, sixth at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, and sixth at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Almirola’s top-10 streak ended with a 12th-place finish at Phoenix Raceway despite running inside the top-10 throughout the race. 

 

Aric Almirola, Driver of the No. 10 Ford Pro Mustang for Stewart-Haas Racing:

 

This is the first track you’re revisiting in the NextGen car. Is the preparation different?

 

“Yeah, this is the first time all year we have notes to take back to the racetrack, so you’re not just heading there blind hoping your setup was right. We had a fast car earlier this year at Atlanta and ran up front a lot, so we feel really good about unloading with speed this weekend. It’s going to be hot and humid this time, though, so there will definitely be some differences from March. It will be interesting to see how the field stacks up now that we’re heading to the same venues with notes in this car.”

 

The new Atlanta surface was designed to race more like a superspeedway. What were your thoughts on that outcome?

 

"It definitely raced like a superspeedway, more than I anticipated. So we get to go back knowing exactly how the track races. We ran up front at the end and had a shot at it, but superspeedway racing happened and we got turned and hurt our car. I’m excited to have another shot at it this weekend.”

 

You are currently outside of the playoff point standings. Do you think about that or just race?

 

“I really don’t pay much attention to it. I leave that up to Drew Blickensderfer (crew chief) and the guys to focus on and make the best call based on that. My focus is to get as much as I possibly can out of a given race weekend, then reset for the next weekend. Obviously, we’re hoping to race for a win every single weekend, so that’s always the first priority. Then see where the circumstances take us and adapt. There are still eight races left and anything can happen.” 

 

TSC PR

 

Hailie Deegan, No. 1 Craftsman Ford F-150    

  • Mid-Ohio marks Hailie Deegan's first start at the historic 2.258-mile road course — her 38th career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series appearance.
  • The series' last race at Nashville Superspeedway marked one of Deegan's most consistent performances in 2022, running within the top-10 before being turned on the event's final restart.
  • Deegan is no stranger to road courses, netting a pole at Sonoma in the K&N West Series and teaming with fellow Ford Performance drivers Austin Cindric, Harrison Burton, and Chase Briscoe in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at the Daytona Road Course this past summer.
  • Veteran Crew Chief Mike Hillman Jr. has sat atop the box in two Mid-Ohio contests, with a career-best finish of seventh in an Xfinity Series outing with Bryan Scott in 2015.
  • Clichere for Deegan's career statistics.
 

Tanner Gray, No. 15 Ford Performance F-150

  • Tanner Gray enters Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the 63rd NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race of his career on Saturday afternoon. It will be his first career appearance at the road course in Lexington, Ohio.
  • At Nashville Superspeedway two weeks ago, Gray suffered a flat right front tire on lap 60 that sent the No. 15 hard into the wall and hampered his speed for the duration of the race.
  • The lower rear quarter panel on the Ford Performance F-150 will be adorned with the logo of Newark, Ohio-based Advanced Business Communications, Inc. (ABC). Larry Pettet, President of ABC, was featured on the name rail of Gray's truck last fall at Martinsville Speedway as part of the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation & The NASCAR Foundation Honor A Cancer Hero program. Gray and Pettet have maintained a close relationship and will join forces this weekend on the 2.258-mile road course.
  • Jerry Baxter has called 39 road course races in his career with two wins, eight top-fives and eight top-10s in the Truck Series. Surprisingly, this will be the first time Baxter has called a race at Mid-Ohio.
  • Click here for Gray's career statistics
 

Taylor Gray, No. 17 Ford Performance F-150

  • Taylor Gray will pull double duty at Mid-Ohio this weekend competing in both the ARCA Menards Series on Friday and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on Saturday afternoon.
  • It will be the fourth NCWTS race of the year for the younger Gray as he searches for his first top-10 of the season.
  • Gray has two previous road course starts in the NCWTS and five in ARCA competition with one win, three top-fives and four top-10s. His one victory came at Portland International Raceway last season with the ARCA Menards Series West.
  • Chad Johnston will be visiting Mid-Ohio for the first time as a crew chief this weekend. He and Gray will be jumping in head first with an extremely busy schedule between the two series.
  • Click here for Gray's career statistics.

DGR PR

Ross Chastain finished second at the newly reconfigured Atlanta Motor Speedway in March.

If he can improve that performance by one position Sunday when the NASCAR Cup Series races on the 1.5-mile oval, he'll pick up his third win of the 2022 season.

It won't be easy.

With its reconfiguration, Atlanta is more like a superspeedway on an intermediate track. Drafting plays a key role at Atlanta as Chastain learned in March when he started seventh and led 42 of the race's 325 laps.

The Alva, Florida native enters the weekend after a fourth-place finish Sunday at Road America in Wisconsin where teammate Daniel Suárez finished fifth, making it the second time Trackhouse Racing had both cars finish in the top-five.

Chastain is looking for his third win this season and Trackhouse Racing's fourth victory in the team's sophomore season. Only eight races remain before the start of the NASCAR Playoffs. Chastain is second in Playoff points. He owns two wins - Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on March 27, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on April 24, nine top-five and 12 top-10 finishes, along with 426 laps led.

Chastain will drive the Jockey® Made in America Collection paint scheme for the second time in 2022. Jockey made its debut with Trackhouse Racing and Chastain two weekends ago at Nashville Superspeedway where Chastain finished fifth. Suárez carried the Jockey livery on his No. 99 Chevrolet Camaro at Road America last weekend, making Atlanta the third consecutive race with a Jockey car in the field.

Jockey International, the pioneer of comfort and quality in active, casual and underwear, and Trackhouse Racing announced the multi-race partnership earlier this year which includes races on both Trackhouse Chevrolet Camaros.

The Jockey partnership with Trackhouse is the first such team sponsorship in the 146-year history of the apparel brand. At the core of the partnership will be the launch of the brand’s new Made in America Collection – an effort aimed at delivering premium quality product; reshoring American manufacturing jobs; supporting families in local communities; and providing a more sustainable option for American consumers.

This weekend's race at Atlanta will have television coverage on USA Network will televise Sunday's race at 3 p.m.

 

Ross Chastain, Driver of the No. 1 Jockey Chevrolet

Any key learnings from the first Atlanta race that will have you better prepared for this weekend's race?

"It's full superspeedway style, think of Daytona and Talladega. We need our car to be very efficient in the air and the least amount of drag and still have grip, and not be too loose or tight. You're going to fight the handling at Atlanta because the corners are so much tighter than Daytona and Talladega. We don't really fight handling too much at those two tracks. Atlanta is a place you'll still need to handle well. Without practice at Atlanta, we need to handle good or we will be in trouble and we'll be swinging at it in the race if that's the case."

Several people have said the No. 1 team is the team to beat this year for the championship. What is that like? 

“Unbelievable. Showing up and having speed in the No. 1 car every weekend is incredible. Honestly though, it was harder for me to show up six years ago and race when my focus throughout the week was, do we have all of the sponsorship we need, do we have enough money to buy tires.

"Do we have an R07 motor or an SB2 motor, that was more of a challenge, and then try to go race on scuffs and development pit crews? Now, Trackhouse reminds me often to just drive the car and don’t worry about tires, don’t worry about the body build of the car, and what springs, just drive the car and that’s made it easier on me and lets me focus. I think we are a competing Cup team and we have your casual top-10 car every week and if you run in the top-10 and top-five enough, you’ll win races and put yourself in position.”

Trackhouse Racing PR

After enjoying an off-week from NASCAR Camping World Truck Series action, Zane Smith returns as the regular season points leader heading into the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Boot Barn, the nation’s largest western and work wear retailer, will adorn the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports (FRM) Ford F-150 for the second time this 2022 season. Coming off a third-place finish in Knoxville, they will join the program again at the end of July at the Indianapolis Raceway Park.

“We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of great partners come on board with us this year at FRM,” Smith stated. “Boot Barn has really embraced the NASCAR culture, because it also represents their culture. We gave them a third place on the dirt, hopefully we can deliver a win this weekend on the road course.”

With only two races left before deciding a regular season champion, Smith is looking for consistency to hold on to the points lead.

"This regular season championship battle is far from over,” said Smith. "We have a 21-point lead on second place, but we’ve also seen how drastically the points can swing if you have a bad day. Winning this weekend at Mid-Ohio would be great, but realistically we need to focus on a great finish and holding the points lead so we have a chance at the 15 playoff points that come with a regular season championship.”

Smith and the No. 38 Boot Barn team race the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

FRM PR

FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: MID-OHIO/ATLANTA 2 NOTES

Atlanta Motor Speedway will host the NASCAR XFINITY and NASCAR Cup Series this weekend for the second time in 2022 while the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races at Mid-Ohio for the first time.  Here’s a look at where Ford drivers stand in all three series.

 

This Week’s Schedule:

Saturday, July 9 – NASCAR Camping World Truck Series @ Mid-Ohio, 1:30 p.m. (FS1)

Saturday, July 9 – NASCAR XFINITY Series @ Atlanta, 5 p.m. (USA)

Sunday, July 10 – NASCAR Cup Series @ Atlanta, 3 p.m. (USA)

 

FORD IN THE NASCAR CUP SERIES AT AMS

  • Ford has 35 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins at AMS.
  • Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Blaney have Ford wins at the track.
  • Georgia native Bill Elliott is Ford’s all-time leader at AMS with five wins.

 

FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT AMS

  • Ford has 10 NASCAR XFINITY Series wins at AMS, all but two by RFK Racing.
  • Kevin Harvick leads all drivers with five series wins.
  • Mark Martin has the most Ford wins with three while Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards have two each.

 

FORD IN THE CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES AT MID-OHIO

  • This weekend marks the inaugural event for the series at Mid-Ohio.

 

BLANEY EYEING REGULAR SEASON CHAMPIONSHIP

Ryan Blaney may still be looking for his first points win of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season, but he’s right in the thick of the regular season championship battle with only eight races remaining.  This year’s All-Star Race winner currently sits second in the standings, 33 points behind leader Chase Elliott going into Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  Blaney, who had a streak of three straight top-10 finishes end after an 11th-place run at Road America, is tied for the most stage wins among all drivers with five.

 

TOP 10 RUNS BECOMING THE NORM

Four Ford drivers have been on a variety of top 10 runs over the past few months, led by Michael McDowell, whose eighth-place finish at Road America marked his sixth in the last 10 races.  Kevin Harvick, who is currently outside of the playoff field, has been knocking out top 10 finishes at a rate of seven in the last nine while Chris Buescher has posted a second at Sonoma and sixth at Road America in his last three starts.  Currently, Austin Cindric has a streak of three straight top 10s after running fifth at Sonoma and seventh the past two weeks at Nashville and Road America.

 

HERBST CLIMBING IN THE NXS STANDINGS

Riley Herbst has been steadily moving up in the NASCAR XFINITY Series standings, entering this weekend’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in ninth place.  Herbst had been as low as 12th following the road course race at Circuit of the Americas, but in the 10 races since then he has registered eight top 10 finishes, including three in the top five.  As a result, he has a 136-point cushion above the cut line with 10 races remaining in the regular season before the 12-driver playoff field is set.

 

SMITH TAKES TRUCK SERIES POINTS LEAD

Zane Smith’s second-place finish two weeks ago at Nashville Superspeedway enabled him to take the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points lead with only two races remaining in the regular season.  As the Front Row Motorsports driver heads to Mid-Ohio for Saturday’s inaugural race, Smith holds a 21-point lead over second-place John Hunter Nemechek and leads all drivers in top 10s (12), top 5s (8), wins (3) and laps led (339).

 

NASCAR CUP SERIES ATLANTA HIGHLIGHTS

 

KESELOWSKI GETS FIRST CUP WIN FOR MUSTANG

Brad Keselowski gave Mustang its first NASCAR Cup Series victory as he held off Martin Truex Jr. at the finish 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.

 

HARVICK SWEEPS 2018 WEEKEND

Kevin Harvick led eight times for a race-high 181 laps in winning the Fold’s 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.

 

SNOW DAYS

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 that sports 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.

 

SWEEP DREAMS

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.

 

LORENZEN LAPS THE FIELD

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).

 

FORD’S ATLANTA NASCAR CUP SERIES WINNERS

1961 – Fred Lorenzen

1962 – Fred Lorenzen

1963 – Fred Lorenzen

1964 – Fred Lorenzen and Ned Jarrett

1965 – Marvin Panch (sweep)

1967 – Cale Yarborough and Dick Hutcherson

1968 – LeeRoy Yarbrough

1969 – LeeRoy Yarbrough

1975 – Buddy Baker

1978 – Bobby Allison

1981 – Neil Bonnett

1985 – Bill Elliott (sweep)

1987 – Ricky Rudd and Bill Elliott

1990 – Morgan Shepherd

1991 – Mark Martin

1992 – Bill Elliott (sweep)

1993 – Morgan Shepherd

1994 – Ernie Irvan and Mark Martin

1997 – Dale Jarrett

2002 – Kurt Busch

2005 – Carl Edwards (sweep)

2008 – Carl Edwards

2017 – Brad Keselowski

2018 – Kevin Harvick

2019 – Brad Keselowski

2020 – Kevin Harvick

2021 – Ryan Blaney (1)

 

FORD’S ATLANTA NASCAR XFINITY WINNERS

1992 – Jeff Gordon

1997 – Mark Martin

1998 – Mark Martin

2000 – Mark Martin

2004 – Matt Kenseth

2005 – Carl Edwards

2008 – Matt Kenseth

2011 – Carl Edwards

2012 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

2018 – Kevin Harvick

Ford Performance PR

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