Steven B. Wilson
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Issues during technical inspection prevented Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/5-hour ENERGY Toyota from participating in qualifying for Sunday’s Folds of Honor/QuickTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Truex will line up 35th on the inside of Row 18 for Sunday’s 325-lap race on the 1.54-mile oval. The Mayetta, N.J., native started ninth and finished eighth in last year’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
“NASCAR’s new inspection process is just that … new,” said Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing. “The tolerances are very tight, within thousandths of an inch. It’s difficult to push the limits where you feel you need to and still be within the tolerances of the new system. One thing we won’t do is leave anything on the table and expect to get poles and wins. We will always push for the maximum.”
Kyle Busch won the pole. The balance of the top 12 qualifiers, in order, were: Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, Daniel Suarez, Brad Keselowski, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, and Jamie McMurray.
Sunday’s Folds of Honor/QuikTrip 500 will air live beginning at noon MT (2 p.m. ET) on Fox, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and PRN.
Cellairis To Sponsor Hometown Professional Stock Car Driver, Garrett Smithley for Upcoming Atlanta Race23 Feb 2018
“I’m really excited to partner with Cellairis, a cool, local Atlanta company that has strong roots in this city,” said Smithley. “This is a huge weekend for my team and we have a lot of eyes on us to see how we follow-up our Daytona finish, so it means a lot to have the Cellairis team’s support behind us.”
Thrilled to support a local top-level driver, Cellairis is proud to continue to increase their presence and foster their relationships within Georgia, where they have been headquartered since 2005.
“We are proud to support a successful, upstanding local Georgia driver,” said Jaime Brown, co-founder of Cellairis. “All of us at Cellairis are extremely passionate about our Atlanta roots and we are thrilled to partner with JD Motorsports and Garrett. Merging entertainment and retail has always been in our DNA as a tech company and we are excited for our partnership.”
The NASCAR Xfinity Series Rinnai 250 begins on Saturday, February 24th at 2:00PM EST. The Atlanta Motor Speedway is located at 1500 Tara Place, Hampton, Georgia, 30228.
To meet a growing need to accommodate large RVs, Martinsville Speedway will add South Lot Camping for the STP 500 race weekend, March 23-25.
The limited number of reserved camping spots will be $200 for the week and are on sale now.
“Each year we get more and more requests for reserved camping, and we want to make sure that our fans’ needs are met,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “With the $200 price and staying at the track, we are keeping to our values of offering the best experience in racing, at the best value.”
The South Lot Camping is located near Gate 17 off of Brass Shop Road. In addition to being within sight of the Speedway, it is also convenient to shopping and food.
The STP 500 weekend presented by whosyourdriver.org is March 23-25.
The weekend starts with a practice day for the truck series on Friday, followed by the Hauler Parade.
On Saturday, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is in action with the Alpha Energy Solutions 250. Following the race the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will qualify for Sunday’s STP 500.
The STP 500 is the first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race on the East Coast, after the “West Coast Swing” and the first short-track race of the season. Last year, Brad Keselowski won the race, becoming the first driver to win in a Ford at Martinsville since 2002.
Tickets to both races are on sale and may be purchased by calling 877.RACE.TIX or online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.
Martinsville Speedway PR
With today’s inclusion of Nielsen Media Research out-of-home viewing data, Sunday’s Daytona 500 on FOX averaged 9,781,000 across all platforms, peaking at more than 11.5 million viewers. According to Nielsen, more than 18.1 million viewers watched all or part of the Great American Race.
The Daytona 500, with Austin Dillon scoring a dramatic victory in the iconic No. 3 and newcomer Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. crossing the line second in Richard Petty’s celebrated No. 43, was the highest rated and most-viewed FOX telecast of any kind since the NFC Championship Game in January, and remains the most-watched motor sports event on television.
Out-of-home data inclusion provided a 7.4% lift in the coveted 18-34 demo, the highest percentage increase of any demo.
Race coverage garnered an average-minute audience of 51,004 for the livestream telecast on FOX Sports GO and FOX Now, up 28% over last year’s 39,832, making it the best-performing NASCAR event in FOX Sports GO history.
With more than 700,000 total interactions across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the week of Feb. 13-19, FOX Sports enjoyed 44% year-to year social media growth from 2017’s 499,000.
Finishing with a Nielsen Rating of 5.3/12, top television markets for the race included Greensboro (15.1/27), Greenville (14.3/24), Indianapolis (12.2/22), Charlotte (10.7/21) and Knoxville (10.2/18).
NASCAR racing returns this weekend from Atlanta Motor Speedway, with a NASCAR Xfinity Series/NASCAR Camping World Truck Series doubleheader Saturday, Feb. 24 (2:00 PM ET/4:30 PM ET on FS1) and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race Sunday, Feb. 25 (2:00 PM ET on FOX).
FOX Sports PR
AMS Friday Pit Notes: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Fastest In First Cup Series Practice; Warm Air Produces Slower Speeds; Elliott Receives One Final Lucky Charm23 Feb 2018
Atlanta Motor Speedway presented Chase Elliott with one final lucky charm Friday.
Elliott, back in the No. 9 car his father, Bill, made famous, was handed a University of Georgia football jersey with his name and number on the back.
The 22-year-old driver, an avowed Bulldogs fan, broke into a wide grin in the moment.
AMS recreated a 1983 campaign that brought good luck to Chase's Hall-of-Fame dad. Bill Elliott finished second eight times before a similar campaign and notched his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory soon after it.
The public was invited to send in anything that would bring luck to the Dawsonville native.
“It was a nice gesture more than anything,” Elliott said. “Man, there were a lot of teddy bears I felt like sent in. A lot of St. Patrick’s Day charm items sent in.
“I appreciate everyone’s support for jumping on board and being willing to support something like that. It’s pretty cool.”
Elliott has two top-10 finishes in his two Monster Energy Cup Series starts at Atlanta. He was eighth in 2016 and fifth last year.
He has 78 starts in NASCAR's top series, fewer than his dad had before notching a win (115).
Elliott is among the Chevy drivers debuting the Camaro ZL1 at Atlanta. Chevy is the most successful manufacturer at AMS with 40 wins.
“I mean I hope it goes really well,” Elliott said. “First off, I don’t think it is really fair for us to show up here at Atlanta and everybody get a judgment on where we stack up here. This is our first go at it as well as everybody else’s. We saw other manufacturers come here last year being their first week and didn’t necessarily fire off the best, but were the best before it was over with. I think you have to give it a little bit of time.”
The body changes mean differences in the wind tunnel and computer simulations.
“I hope we hit it this weekend, don’t get me wrong,” Elliott said. “I’m not making an excuse. Either it will be good or it won’t, but I think we have to work through some of the differences. We have seen some of those differences today. No reason why we can’t fix it, though, and try to get it as good as we can and hopefully better than the rest.”
But AMS is always a track Elliott where has enjoyed racing.
“This is a track where you can have your car driving good and you might be able to make up a deficit that you might be fighting somewhere else or somebody have an advantage over you,” he said. “I just think having the ability to go out and practice and your feedback is worth a little more here. I think that a lot of guys feel that way.
“As you run a race, how you drive your car at the first half of the run can affect how your performance is going to be in the second half of the run. In a lot of places, that’s not the case either. So, it’s just a fun place to come. I think anywhere that you run three or four laps and the lap times have fallen off significantly like they are here all the time, I think that makes it fun. It makes it fun from a strategy standpoint, it makes it fun for the racers.”
Truex settles in for title defense
Martin Truex, the defending Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, is one of the best at 1.5-mile tracks like AMS. Seven of his eight wins came at such tracks, although Atlanta was not one of those. Truex was eighth at last year's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
“This is a good first chance for us to see where we stack up against the competition and how we feel as compared to years past,” Truex said. “This is a great race track. It's a lot of fun to race here. I always look forward to it.”
The track was set to be repaved last year, but officials responded to a collective outcry from drivers to reconsider. After reevaluating the surface, AMS opted to patch the 1.54-mile oval and delay a full resurfacing.
“There's not a driver in the garage that wants this track to get repaved,” Truex said. "As far as racing goes and being a driver, this place is so fun and so challenging, I don't think there's anyone that doesn't love it.”
Truex and his Denver-based team aren't taking anything for granted despite the title and the success at 1.5-mile tracks.
“We're trying to be open-minded, not get caught by surprise,” he said. “A lot of things have changed in the offseason. The inspection process is one of them.
“But it's a new year. Everybody has worked all winter to try to come back and go after a championship. So you've got to be driven. You've got to work hard. You can't take any of it for granted — because it slip right out from under you.”
Fastest in first practice
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. put down the fastest lap in the first Monster Energy Cup Series practice Friday with a time of 29.745 seconds and a speed of 186.384 mph.
Rookie Christopher Bell led the first Xfinity Series practice. The No. 20 went around in 31.086 (178.447 mph).
Justin Haley had the top time (31.141) and speed (178.02) for the Camping World Truck Series first practice session Friday.
Times were slower than in 2017, primarily for the Xfinity cars, but temperatures were much higher, which Atlanta native Brandon Jones said could have played a part in the disparity.
“It could be for sure,” Jones said. “Obviously there are a lot of factors that affect that. We've got a little bit less downforce and things like that. We've got our composite body as well so maybe that could be a lot of the slower speeds. But as far as driving, it's been total opposite of what I've been used to in the past so I'm still trying to adapt and learn these cars a little bit.”
- Sunday will be David Ragan's 400th start in NASCAR's top series. The 32-year-old Georgia native grew up racing at AMS and hasn't missed a race at the elite level of stock car racing in 11 consecutive years.
- It's the first time in 15 years that an Elliott is driving the iconic No. 9 in the Cup Series at Atlanta.
- AMS has held more 500-mile races than any NASCAR track. Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is the 103rd and 96th consecutive for the Hampton venue.
- Four of the five top finishers in last week's Daytona 500 — Austin Dillon, Darrell Wallace Jr., Joey Logano and Chris Buescher — are alumni of Atlanta Motor Speedway's Thursday Thunder.
David Ankin, one of the Southeast’s most innovative custom vehicle fabricators and the star of the hit show “ToyMakerz” on Velocity, will meet fans and show off his most spectacular “toyz” during the April 5-8 Pennzoil AutoFair presented by Advance Auto Parts at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Based in Reidsville, North Carolina, “ToyMakerz” chronicles the extraordinary works developed by Ankin – a former stuntman, motorcycle racer and fabricator whose company's eponymous show features their work on one-of-a-kind vehicles for clients all over the world. The colorful, customized rides coming to Pennzoil AutoFair include “GPS,” “The Beast,” “SB2” and “Mustang” – each with their own unique backstories.
Ankin and the cast of “Toymakerz” will sign autographs for fans throughout the weekend alongside his custom creations at the Showcase Pavilion, located in the NASCAR XFINITY Series garage in the speedway’s infield.
The Pennzoil AutoFair presented by Advance Auto Parts features more than 50 car club displays and more than 10,000 vendor spaces offering an array of automotive parts and memorabilia. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway. In addition, kids can enjoy activities including face-painting, bounce houses and other games and entertainment in the Play Zone.
Hours for the April 5-8 Pennzoil AutoFair presented by Advance Auto Parts are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Single-day tickets are $11 each day for adults. Admission is FREE for children 13 and under with an adult. A four-day weekend pass is available for just $32 plus tax. To buy tickets, AutoFair attendees can call the speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267), shop online or buy them at the gate.
Keep track of Pennzoil AutoFair Presented by Advance Auto Parts attractions and events by following on Twitter and Instagram or become a Facebook fan. Keep up with all the latest news and information with the Charlotte Motor Speedway mobile app.
Eastman Performance Films, LLC, a subsidiary of Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE: EMN), has joined 12-time NASCAR Cup Series champions Hendrick Motorsports as a primary sponsor of driver Alex Bowman and the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 team in the premier NASCAR Cup Series through 2020. The sponsorship featuring the LLumar® brand of window film and paint protection film was announced today at Eastman’s Elite Dealer Conference in San Diego.
Eastman will be a primary sponsor of Bowman, 24, for one race in 2018 and two races each season in 2019 and 2020. The three-year agreement includes associate sponsorship of the No. 88 team in all non-primary events throughout the Cup Series season. In addition, Hendrick Motorsports will utilize LLumar products on all Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 race cars across its entire four-team stable.
“We are pleased to partner with Hendrick Motorsports and everyone involved with Team 88,” said Darrell Reed, Eastman Performance Films’ sales and marketing director. “As a new sponsor, we see tremendous business-to-business potential and countless opportunities to introduce LLumar to millions of fans. The chance to work with a championship organization and a talented young driver like Alex is exciting for our company and our dealers.”
LLumar high-performance films help protect and improve homes, businesses and vehicles around the world. The LLumar portfolio of films includes automotive window tints and paint protection films; commercial and residential architectural window; safety and security; anti-graffiti; and decorative films.
“We’re so proud to welcome Eastman and the LLumar brand to our team and our sport,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “The products they offer are exceptional, and they’ve already identified areas where we can work together to positively impact and grow their business. We look forward to teaming up with them to build a successful program.”
Fresh off winning the pole position for the 60th running of the Daytona 500, Bowman is in his first season driving the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 full-time for Hendrick Motorsports. The Tucson, Arizona, native is a lifelong auto enthusiast who works on and customizes his personal cars.
“As someone who’s always looking for ways to personalize and protect my own cars, Eastman offers some really cool LLumar products,” Bowman said. “Working with them is a great fit for me, and I know they’ll bring a lot of fresh ideas to the overall partnership with Hendrick Motorsports. The No. 88 team is focused on performing on the track, and it will be fun to have LLumar window film and paint protection film on board with us for that.”
Eastman joins Nationwide (19 races), Axalta Coating Systems (15 races) and Valvoline (two races) as primary sponsors of the No. 88 team in 2018.
Hendrick Motorsports PR