NASCAR follows up the Daytona 500 weekend with a new date at Atlanta Motor Speedway, along with a returning series: the Camping World Truck Series returns after a two-year absence and joins the Xfinity Series for a rare double-header on Saturday, February 28th. The Sprint Cup Series runs the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday, March 1st.
Atlanta Motor Speedway holds a special place in the career of Jeff Gordon, who is competing in his final full-time NASCAR season. Gordon made his Cup Series debut at the track in 1992, when it was the schedule’s season finale. The race is one of the most historic in NASCAR history, as it also marked the final race of Richard Petty’s career. As if those two stories weren’t enough, six drivers went into the race with a shot at the title, with Alan Kulwicki taking the title from race-winner Bill Elliott by just 10 points.
Gordon has five wins in 41 starts at Atlanta, leading all active drivers in both categories.
Kasey Kahne used last year’s late-season race at Atlanta to ensure himself a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, his third win at the 1.54-mile track in Georgia. Kahne had a ninth-place finish at Daytona. In addition to his three wins, Kahne has six additional top 10 finishes and two poles in 18 starts at Atlanta.
Carl Edwards, who finished 23rd in Daytona in his new Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Camry, also has three wins at Atlanta, all of which came with Roush Fenway Racing; Edwards has a total of 11 top 10 finishes in 17 races at Atlanta. He’s not the only newcomer to JGR, as his former RFR teammate David Ragan has been named as Kyle Busch’s replacement in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota for the foreseeable future. Ragan has 12 starts in the Cup Series at Atlanta, finishing a career-best eighth in the fall of 2008 while driving for RFR.
Tony Stewart’s season didn’t start the way he planned, 42nd at Daytona – but that won’t slow the three-time Cup Series champ down. Stewart has three wins and 15 top 10 finishes in 27 starts at Atlanta, with his last win coming in the second race of 2010. Stewart went winless in 2014 – that won’t happen again this year.
All three series will be on track on Friday, February 27th, with Xfinity Series practice sessions at 10 and 11:30 a.m. ET, followed by Sprint Cup Series practice at 1 p.m. ET and Camping World Truck Series practice at 2:30 p.m. ET. Drive Sober Georgia Qualifying Day for the Sprint Cup Series hits the track Friday at 5:25 p.m. ET.
Action on Saturday, February 28th opens with Xfinity Series qualifying at 9:10 a.m. ET and Truck Series qualifying at 10:40 a.m. ET. After the final Cup Series practice session at noon ET, the Xfinity Series Hisense 250 goes green at 2 p.m. ET, followed by the Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 at 5:30 p.m. ET. The Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 goes green Sunday, March 1st at 1 p.m. ET.
Keep up with the action at www.nascar.com.