Monday, Mar 20
Speedway Digest Staff

Speedway Digest Staff

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Joey Logano earned the pole position Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway and said after qualifying that “It’s always been a dream to win on this race track.”

That dream came true one day later as Logano took the checkered flag in Sunday’s Ambetter Health 400.

“(This is) so special to win Atlanta for me,” Logano reflected after the race with a grin stretching as long as the Atlanta Motor Speedway track. “So many memories of me and my dad racing right here on the quarter mile. This is the full circle for us. So many memories gritting over there with the Legends car, racing, having a big time. Dreaming of going straight at the quarter-mile and going on to the big track. That was always the dream to do it. To finally win here means so much to me here personally, but the team.

Logano’s 32nd career win ties him with Dale Jarrett for 27th on the all-time list. The No. 22 car has three top-10 finishes on the season.

Logano, who led for 140 of the 260 laps, had to come from behind with a last-lap pass to distance himself from former teammate Brad Keselowski just enough for his first victory of the NASCAR Cup series season.

Keselowski crossed 0.193 seconds behind after leading for the previous 29 laps heading into the final circuit.

Christopher Bell was third, Corey LaJoie took a career-best fourth and Tyler Reddick closed out the top five.

The first two stages featured only one caution for a single car spin, but a pair of crashes near the front of the pack curtailed the final surge to the finish.

Kevin Harvick lost control of his No. 4 Ford through Turns 1 and 2, resulting in a crash with 71 laps remaining that officially involved 12 cars. Harvick led just one lap and was relegated to a finish outside the top 30. The crash also eliminated last year’s race winner William Byron, who was bidding for his third consecutive Cup Series victory.

Harvick will look to have a better result in what will be his final start at AMS as a full-time Cup Series driver in July. NASCAR returns to the Georgia track for a summer weekend of racing at night, under the lights, headlined by the Quaker State 400 Available at Walmart on July 9.

Tickets and camping accommodations for the July 4-9 summer NASCAR event at AMS are available now at


Ambetter Health 400


AJ Allmendinger, No. 16 Action Industries Camaro ZL1


  • AJ Allmendinger qualified 30th for the Ambetter Health 400.
  • Lacking speed and finishing the first stage 27th, crew chief, Matt Swiderski, made a strategy call on green-flag stops, resulting in a 12th place finish in the second stage for Allmendinger.
  • Allmendinger went on to finish 16th in the final stage.


"I thought we made the best of it. We got a little bit of damage in one of the wrecks and that probably didn’t help our speed, but we were just lacking speed in general which made it tough for us to make moves and we kinda got stuck. Pit stops were really good, strategy was really good. We did everything right and the car handled well, just got stuck there in pack racing and we didn’t have a lot of raw speed in the car. We just tried to make the best there with what we had and we got out with a clean race car." 


- AJ Allmendinger


Justin Haley, No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1

  • Justin Haley qualified 20th for the Ambetter Health 400.
  • During the opening stage, Haley stayed in the top 15, reporting he was happy with the handling of the No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1. Making it as high as 12th, Haley dropped back and finished the stage in 17th.
  • The balance of the No. 31 Chevy began to tighten up during the second stage. Haley made a green-flag stop for left-side tires and fuel with just under 30 laps in the stage. Losing all drafting help, Haley was stuck in 24th, where he finished the second stage.
  • After a fuel-only pit stop in the final stage, Haley worked his way up to eighth before getting hit by a spinning No. 5 car, knocking the right-front toe out of the No. 31 car. The team assessed the damage and made some repairs to the car. Haley was able to stay with the pack for the remainder of the race and went on to finish 22nd.


"We had a really great No. 31 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Camaro ZL1 all day until we got hit on the right front in the third stage. That knocked the toe out and really affected the steering of the car. Despite the damage, we still were able to stay with the lead pack and finish 22nd. We made it as high as eighth before we got hit, so I think we had a chance for a really great finish. That’s just how these speedway races are. I’m looking forward to the next few races where we have a good opportunity to have some solid runs.

- Justin Haley

Raptor King of Tough 250


Daniel Hemric, No. 11 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet


  • Per the rulebook, Daniel Hemric started the Raptor King of Tough 250 11th after qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather.
  • Hemric fought right-front chatter the majority of the first stage. Through all the cautions and restarts, Hemric finished 7th in the opening stage.
  • During the second stage, Hemric was collected in a wreck and sustained some right-front damage. The team was able to repair damage to the nose, and Hemric went on to finish the stage in 17th.
  • During the final stage, Hemric made his way into the top 10 alongside his teammates. Crew chief, Jason Trinchere, made the call for fuel only for the final pit stop, allowing Hemric to gain track position. Battling for the win on the final restart, Hemric made contact with the No. 48 and went on to cross the line in second place.


"In situations like the one we were in, you're racing for a win and doing everything you can to put yourself in position to win. I'm proud of these guys at Kaulig Racing for grinding. It was a battle all night, and we didn't quite have the speed we needed. We were one spot short tonight, but having the opportunity to get in a race car every week for Kaulig Racing is an honor. Second place is tough, but tonight I'm happy with second place."


- Daniel Hemric


Justin Haley, No. 10 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet


  • Per the rulebook, Justin Haley started the Raptor King of Tough 250 18th after qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather.
  • Haley avoided mayhem in what would become a caution-filled opening stage and went on to finish 10th in stage one.
  • As the cautions continued to fall throughout the second stage, Haley reported his No. 10 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet handled well. Bailing out of the lead pack just in time to avoid a wreck, the 9th caution of the day flew with three laps remaining in the stage, ending it under caution. Haley was scored 18th.
  • Haley worked his way into the top 10 during the final stage, racing amongst his teammates. He worked to avoid a last-lap wreck, but was hooked from behind as he crossed the line 10th.



Our No. 10 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet was really good. It was just really long race. We worked hard to position ourselves for the end, but we just never could quite get there. Overall, we had a good day and another top 10 in the No. 10 car.


- Justin Haley


Chandler Smith, No. 16 Quick Tie Chevrolet


  • Per the NASCAR rulebook, Chandler Smith started the RAPTOR 250 in sixth after qualifying was canceled due to inclement weather.
  • Smith ran in the top 10 during the caution-filled opening stage, finishing fourth and gaining seven stage points.
  • During the second stage, Smith made contact with another car and received damage to his left-front fender. The No. 16 Quick Tie Products team repaired the damage after multiple pit stops as Smith went on to finish the stage in 19th.
  • During the final stage, the No. 16 car suffered a rear gear failure with just over 30 laps to go, leading to Smith's retirement from the race. He finished 28th.


It wasn't the day the No. 16 Quick Tie team wanted, but it's these days that show us who we are as a group. I felt like we had lots of speed and could've continued our top-five streak, but results like this are what you sometimes get with superspeedway racing. It's about the process in addition to the results, though, and I felt like our crew really helped salvage the speed I knew we had without the left-front damage. That gives us all confidence that we have the potential for a special season. We'll be back next week."


- Chandler Smith

Kaulig Racing PR

Harrison Burton and the Motorcraft/Quick Lane team were swept up in a multi-car melee on Lap 189 of Sunday’s Ambetter Health 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with the damage to the No. 21 Mustang too severe to be repaired in a timely manner. That dropped Burton to 34th in the finishing order.

Burton started Sunday’s race from 33rd place after getting loose in qualifying on Saturday. When the green flag flew on Sunday he spent most of the first two Stages running near the back of the pack.
He finished the first 60-lap Stage in 32nd place. In the second Stage he managed to avoid getting lapped as the Stage wound down and ended that segment in 29th place and on the lead lap.

As Stage Three got underway, Burton began to move forward. He moved into the top 25 on Lap 167 and was up to 22nd by Lap 171. 
He was still inside the top 25 on Lap 189, 71 circuits shy of the finish, when a wreck that began at the front of the pack left the Motorcraft/Quick Lane Mustang with race-ending suspension damage.

“I don’t even know what caused our wreck,” Burton told reporters at the track. “I was looking back and forth between the windshield and the mirror trying to block people from being aggressive and taking you in the middle of three-wide.
“I looked back and forth and by the time I looked back they were wrecking in front of me.”
 Burton said it was frustrating to see his race end as it did. 

 “I feel like our qualifying effort was not very good, obviously,” he said. “I about crashed in qualifying, but I felt really good about our car in the race, but I just could not gain track position to maintain it.  
“It’s really, really hard to leapfrog your way forward a lot of spots. It’s just frustrating how that worked out.  
“Once you’re back there, you’re bound to get pushed into all the wrecks for sure.”
Up next for Burton and the No. 21 team is next Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.


Race Winner:  Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 1 Winner:  Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)

Stage 2 Winner:  Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)


SHR Race Finish:            

●  Chase Briscoe (Started 8th, Finished 24th / Running, completed 259 of 260 laps)  

●  Ryan Preece (Started 24th, Finished 28th / Running, completed 244 of 260 laps)

●  Aric Almirola (Started 5th, Finished 30th / Accident, completed 208 of 260 laps)

●  Kevin Harvick (Started 6th, Finished 33rd / Accident, completed 190 of 260 laps)


SHR Points:

●  Kevin Harvick (6th with 155 points, 22 out of first)

●  Chase Briscoe (23rd with 72 points, 105 out of first)

●  Ryan Preece (26th with 63 points, 114 out of first)

●  Aric Almirola (27th with 63 points, 114 out of first)


SHR Notes:        

●  Almirola led twice for 17 laps, increasing his laps led total at Atlanta to 67.

●  Harvick led one lap, increasing his laps led total at Atlanta to a series-leading 1,360.


Race Notes:       

●  Joey Logano won the Ambetter Health 400 to score his 32nd career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his first of the season and his first at Atlanta. His margin over second-place Brad Keselowski was .193 of a second.

●  This was Ford’s 721st all-time NASCAR Cup Series victory.

●  This was Ford’s 36th NASCAR Cup Series victory at Atlanta. The manufacturer won its first race at Atlanta with NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen on July 9, 1961.

●  There were five caution periods for a total of 34 laps.

●  Twenty-three of the 36 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.

●  Logano leaves Atlanta as the championship leader by just a single point over second-place Christopher Bell.


Sound Bites:


“We’ve got some work to do before we come back here. I’m not sure what exactly we were dealing with, but the balance was never where it needed to be in the draft. It would snap loose at the worst time, and that’s how we ended up in the wall and having to fix a toe link. I’m glad we were able to get some of our position back, but I wish it had been a better ending for us.” Chase Briscoe, driver of the No. 14 Ford Mustang


“That was a really tough day. Just a struggle all around. We couldn’t run the top at all and then we had something wrong with the car and spent the rest of the race trying to diagnose it.” – Ryan Preece, driver of the No. 41 Autodesk/ Ford Mustang


“I’m OK. It knocked the wind out of me, mostly because it caught me by surprise, but I’m OK. I blew a tire. I just blew a tire. I have no idea why. We had way less laps on that set of tires than we had earlier, so I don’t know.” Aric Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang


“I think he (Ross Chastain) just caught me so quick right there in the middle of the corner and then he kind of was up on the right rear part of the corner and he came back down and when he came back down, it just spun the thing out. I don’t think he actually even hit me, but it started chattering the rear tires and then I was just along for the ride.” Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Busch Light #Break4Busch Ford Mustang


Next Up:

The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix on Sunday, March 26 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.  



Austin Dillon Has A Solid Day In The No. 3 Andy's Frozen Custard Chevrolet at Atlanta Motor Speedway





"We had a solid Andy's Frozen Custard Chevrolet today at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Early on, we had speed. We were just trying to get to the final stage and into position to race hard at the end. After we got damage in Stage 3, the car was very tight and we struggled keeping up. We salvaged the day, but wanted more for our friends at Andy's Frozen Custard. We will be back next week to take on Circuit of the Americas."


-Austin Dillon

Kyle Busch and the No. 8 Lenovo Chevrolet Team Claim Top-10 Finish at Atlanta Motor Speedway





“We had a decent day. Our No. 8 Lenovo Chevrolet Camaro was fast enough. I think there were probably 20 cars out there today that were fast enough. It was just a matter of positioning yourself and getting positioned towards the end of the race. I got shuffled out to around 16th and then made our way back into the top 10. I tried to make a move with four laps to go on the outside and hit a block or a wall of air and just slowed up. We’ll take that top-10 finish and head to the Circuit of the Americas.”


-Kyle Busch


Chris Buescher had a fast No. 17 Violent Defense Ford for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, staring seventh and running the majority of the race’s laps firmly inside the top 10. Unfortunately he would get a caught up in a multi-car accident near the front of the pack on lap 189 and relegated to a 35th-place finish.


Buescher had battled back from a pit-road speeding penalty, moving from 28th to third in just under 20 laps, before getting caught up in the wreck.


“First off, our Violet Defense Ford Mustang was really fast and I’m proud of everybody for that,” said Buescher. “I made a mistake on pit road by getting a speeding penalty and that put us back in the field. We drove back up to third. The speed was there and we were doing it without unnecessary pushes in the center of the corner. I haven’t seen a replay to know exactly what happened, but I’ve got a pretty good feeling.”


Buescher finished the first stage in eighth and moved into the top five during the second stage, working with teammate Brad Keselowski. After a green flag pitting sequence, he finished stage two in ninth, but was flagged with a pit road speeding penalty and forced to restart in 28th.


Buescher quickly went to work on the field, powering his Ford back inside the top-15 in just under 10 laps, before moving inside the top five when he was claimed in the day’s first big wreck of the race.


Buescher and the team return to action next weekend at a road course in Circuit of the Americas (COTA). Race coverage on Sunday is set for 3:30 p.m. on FOX. Radio coverage can be heard on PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.



Brad Keselowski led the field in the closing moments of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The driver/owner of the King’s Hawaiian Ford Mustang led 47 laps in the 260-lap event, including 28 of the final 29. As cool as the crisp west Georgia afternoon, Keselowski held off a pack of charging Penske Fords for the final 25 laps, but despite the valiant effort from the NASCAR Champion, lost the lead as the field moved into turn three with just under half a mile left in the 400-mile event.


Keselowski and the No. 6 Team held on for the second-place finish, RFK’s best finish at the 1.5-mile track since 2010.


“A great run all-in-all for our RFK King’s Hawaiian Ford Mustang,” said Keselowski after the race. “We were right there.  I’m glad a Ford won and it was a heck of a battle.  I’m proud of my team and the effort, just not much we could do there at the end.


“It’s night and day from where we were a year ago, 100 percent,” added an optimistic Keselowski.  “You just keep running like this with good finishes and the wins will come.”


Keselowski started the day fourth based on Saturday’s strong effort in qualifying. He finished stage one in third position and moved to second as the field went green for stage two. After a green flag pit cycle the No. 6 King’s Hawaiian Ford finished the second stage sixth.


Keselowski took the lead for the first time on lap 209 and led the majority of the race’s final 50 laps. He appeared poised for the victory coming into the final lap, but was unable to hold off the charge from the No. 22 and his teammates.


“The bottom row came with a huge run,” said Keselowski. “I thought I had it blocked and Joey (Logano) just kept shaking and his car didn’t stall out.  I couldn’t get the push down the back, but it was still a great run for our team and something we’ll continue to build on until we get there. We are getting really close.”


Keselowski, who has now led in all five races this season, moved up to fifth in the Cup point standings, one point behind fourth and 17 outside of first place. 


The No. 6 team returns to action next week in road-course racing action at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. Race coverage Sunday is set for 3:30 p.m. on FOX. Radio coverage can be heard on PRN and SiriusXM Channel 90.



THE MODERATOR: We are joined by today's winning driver, Joey Logano, driver of the No. 22 Autotrader Ford for Team Penske.

Joey, you have such a rich history and a legacy with this racetrack, but today is your first NASCAR Cup Series win here.

JOEY LOGANO: Finally. We've been so close so many times here. To get a win, it's meant so much to me, just the memories, right? I was here when Harvick got his first win. I remember watching that from the grandstands, how cool that was.

Racing here with my parents, running Legends cars, thinking about the first time we drove down here, driving through the infield tunnel, thinking this was the biggest racetrack we've ever been to. We were just down visiting.

We met Kenny Ragan who runs Legends of Georgia, David's dad. He said, Why don't you race a Bandolero, give it a shot. We did that day. He let us rent one for the weekend. We raced. Came back down here about six months later when we moved and started racing right here.

Ran so many races. There's so many memories of showing up here Monday nights, practicing. Sorry, Wednesday nights, Thursday nights we'd race. Our race shop was two miles up the road. I lived in the condo up there.

The dream was always to race on the big track, right? Every time you run that quarter mile over and over again, someday I want to go straight and hit the big banks. That's what it was about for me.

I guess this win here is for those kids. I got to meet a lot of them this weekend. I'm sure you saw them around. Just shows you keep working hard, chasing your dreams, the dream of always driving a Cup car into Victory Lane lane came true today. It was really neat.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How would you describe that battle with Brad? Cat and mouse? Chess match?

JOEY LOGANO: It was just lane versus lane is what it was, right? Inside versus outside. I mean, there were times that I could have almost cleared him and moved up. I really wanted to get my teammates clear because I'd much rather have my teammates behind me if I could.

I knew how fast the Team Penske cars were. Obviously they qualified fast. I felt like, man, if I can get them clear, I have a better chance of winning this thing.

I thought I messed up because there with three, four laps to go, the outside lane got like four cars cleared. Oh, man, too far back. One of them is going to pull down in front of me, now I'm not the leader of the lane. It all changed. As quick as I thought that, Corey moved down to the bottom lane and gave me a hell of a push down the frontstretch. Able to clear the 20 who was second on the outside at the time, I think, maybe it was the 45. I think it was the 45. Was able to get to Brad's back bumper.

I thought I just got to break the plane. I got to get one or the other, I can't let him stop. Was able to get to his outside. When he came off the corner, he had me pinned up against the wall. That really was what pinned the 20 behind me to where he had to push me down the backstretch. When I backed up to him, got the push, that was enough to clear me plenty into the final corner, be able to race them side by side and kind of get to Victory Lane there.

Just a really fast Mustang, very fast Team Penske car. Just special to win here for multiple reasons. We talked about Heritage, but also Autotrader's backyard, Coca-Cola's backyard, headquartered in Atlanta. A lot of really big things for winning here.

Great day, for sure.

Q. Were you anticipating every move he was making because you knew him so well?

JOEY LOGANO: I mean, I know Brad really well on and off the racetrack, right? I know he's going to do anything to win a race. And rightfully so. I wouldn't say our racing mentalities are very different. That's why I feel like we get along well. We also sometimes have clashed on a track every now and then. Not very often.

We both race really, really hard. So I felt like we were definitely going to duke it out. When I got to his outside, it was either he was going to wreck or we were going to just race and hopefully he was going to get the big push on the bottom. That was his only hope there. It just ultimately ended up working out fine.

Yeah, I mean, it's fun racing with him, to answer your question, I guess, because you kind of have an idea of what he's thinking a little bit. Also with T.J., right, he's his spotter, he was my spotter for years, so I kind of have an idea of what information T.J. is feeding him. It all worked out for us.

Q. You spoke about on the bottom trying to get your teammates clear. Coleman was giving you good information about Austin. Did you ever have thoughts of ditching the bottom?

JOEY LOGANO: Stayed committed to the bottom because my teammates were down there. Coleman did an amazing job kind of painting that picture of what that looked like for me. He's so good at what he does, it's ridiculous. It's so much fun to listen to him and talk to him before the race, the homework that he does, how well he understands the sport. Really helps me.

Yeah, when he was telling me all this stuff, I'm like, I know, I see it. He's telling me about it. I know, but I wonder if I should get up. I really wanted my teammates to work with me.

It's hard to have that conversation back and forth while we're racing. I really felt like the Team Penske cars were so fast. I thought, man, if we stay together, it would be good.

Towards the end of the run is when no one was able to stay close enough together any more. The 2 was falling off the 12. They couldn't stay close enough to keep the run going down the straightaways. That's when we started falling apart. Just probably too many laps on the tires, grinding the tires off of them. Not much tire wear, but there's some. Tires did mean a little bit.

Eventually when the tires were starting to wear, handling was coming in. I think that's where eventually we lost each other towards the end.

Q. You said after wrecking at Las Vegas, the Fords were behind. Fell behind early at Phoenix. Is today a step in the right direction or more an indication of the superspeedway speed you all have?

JOEY LOGANO: It's an indication of the direction we went. I think it's pretty obvious. I think the whole garage knows what direction we've gone at this point, where our strengths are going to be, where our weaknesses are going to be.

Our strengths definitely obviously when you see a top eight qualifying is Fords, you pretty much know what the strengths are at that point, right? It's pretty easy to see it.

Yeah, we knew we needed to come here and maximize our day. Stage win, a pole, leading a bunch of laps, almost had a second stage win if I didn't make a mistake there. Ultimately at least I didn't make a mistake on the last lap (smiling).

Q. After you got the push from Corey, you moved up to the top lane to get on the right side of Brad. It seems there was very little room. Take me through that, what you recall. Maybe that's a move you have to make. Why wasn't there a wreck at that point?

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, it just worked out. I don't know. My car was able to take a push really well. When Corey clobbered me at the start/finish line, that gave me such a big run. I thought it's going to be close to clearing the 20. I think I can. I committed to the move.

It was either he was going to have to release the wheel, lift. I was going to come up. When you get a run like that on the last lap, you can't lift. You just can't. Brad saw I was on the bottom, so he's going to block the bottom initially. So I have to go where he's not. Where he's not is going to be up the racetrack.

I had to get up there and try to slip to his outside. Ultimately, that's the move that was going to win the race, right? If I got to his inside, you have a chance, maybe a 20% chance of winning the race depending on what kind of push you get down the backstretch. Most likely we were not going to win the race.

When I had a big enough run, open the wheel, get to his outside here, that was kind of the difference maker. Once I broke the plane, pulled him back, it was pretty much game over for him.

Q. Corey said he certainly was happy for you. Career best fourth for him. To see somebody who has had to struggle to get these opportunities, what is it like to see somebody like Corey get a top five?

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, it's a great day for him. Shoot, he almost won the race here last time. I don't think any of us are surprised by it. When the race was coming towards the end, Oh, there he is. Where has he been all day? Corey just kind of popped up there.

Obviously they've given him a really good race car, good-handling race car, that can go fast and be able to allow him to make some moves on the racetrack.

He made some good moves there towards the end. Obviously he got himself a good spot. He had the run. If he went underneath me, he's probably not winning the race, right? His best chance was to give me the shot there.

It worked out well. Another kid that raced out there with me when we were kids, right, now we're working together out there on the racetrack. Pretty cool.

Q. Were you surprised there was no big wreck at the end of this race?

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah. I mean, it happens every time. If you watched the Truck and Xfinity race, you would probably bet on it there was going to be a caution at the end of the this thing. There were a few, but they never ended up being big crashes. Everybody did a good job at avoiding them.

I think one of the biggest things is everybody bolts a lot more grip into their car when they come here compared to Daytona or Talladega. They have their cars trimmed out more. The cars are able to take a push better, right? Think about how hard we were hitting each other. If you did that at Daytona, you wreck.

Seems to me the fix is a little bit more grip allowing everybody to be able to handle their race car. Honestly, Goodyear brought a better tire. The teams have learned a lot, too. A lot of the cautions before were from tires popping. We didn't have that today, right? To the point you had green flag pit stops.

We didn't really think that was going to happen, to be honest. We didn't think green flog stops was going to happen. It all went smooth, too, right? The new pit road, all that stuff, it worked out well.

Q. I would say your performance at the previous two races, Vegas, Phoenix, I don't know if you would characterize it as startling, but what was the attitude of this team? Were you deflated after last week at all? What was the atmosphere?

JOEY LOGANO: I wouldn't say 'deflated'. We know the situation we're in this year. We know we have to be perfect all the time. If there's a team that can do it, it's this team, that knows how to do that.

We were not perfect last week in Phoenix, right? I misguided the team with the setup after practice. We paid the penalty in the race. By the time we got it good, we got going pretty well, we had a rough day on pit road. We weren't perfect.

If we were perfect, we could have done exactly what the 12 did and had a chance to win the race, right? Too far back to put two tires on, didn't have a chance to win there.

We can win anywhere at any point because the team is strong. We just had an off day, right? That's all I can say. We know when we come to racetracks like this, we're going to be really, really good and have the dominant race cars. We need to maximize days like this, like we did.

Just a different situation than we had last year. We just have to learn to race a little bit differently.

Q. Apparently this is your first Cup Series win for Penske with a primary sponsor that's not Shell-Pennzoil.

JOEY LOGANO: That's true.

Q. You were aware of that?

JOEY LOGANO: Oh, yeah (smiling). I've been reminded.

Q. Can you talk about what a win for these sponsors means. We hear about what they mean for the race teams, drivers. Talk about how much a primary sponsor values finishing so well.

JOEY LOGANO: It means a lot. Autotrader has been a partner of Team Penske I think for eight years or so. They won here I believe with Brad in the past. I've been close a few times. I've wrecked this car plenty of times, so... It felt good to finally win with this thing.

Yeah, it feels kind of weird. AAA on the car as well. We've been close so many times for the last 10 years. Haven't been able to win with that one yet, either.

Yeah, finally won without the Shell on the car. Definitely a little different, for sure. Nice to get them a victory, as well, here. We'll try to click one off for AAA later this year, too.

Q. You talked earlier about the amount of knowledge you have about Brad Keselowski. Talk about the respect level that you showed each other. Seemed like there was a lot of respect shown in the last couple laps.

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, we both know we're good at this, right? I mean, I feel like Brad is one of the top five best speedway racers on the racetrack. I feel like I'm in there. A few others that are in there that you just know are really, really good at it.

We were kind of duking it out back and forth, side by side, side drafting each other. Okay, this is what you would expect. It's fun going up against the best like that.

He works really hard at it. He studies it. He's really smart at speedway racing, for sure. When you think of driver and spotter combinations, you're going against two of the best right there, right? Whether it's T.J. and Brad or myself and Coleman, if I'm picking a couple pairings of people that understand the draft, those two groups are the best at it. So it was fun to kind of go back and forth there at the end.

Q. When you've had so many things on track in the past like you have had, is there a nerve-wracking moment where you get into a crash, that he's going to be really mad at you?

JOEY LOGANO: No, no. I don't think that thought went through my mind at all. I knew we were going to race the heck out of each other. I think we both understand that we want to win. You kind of leave the feelings at the door.

Q. What were the emotions like when you turned around and the first person that greeted you was your father?

JOEY LOGANO: That was cool. Obviously I didn't see him coming. I think that was neat to see that. There's been plenty of times he's run out to the start/finish line to give me a hug here maybe 20-something years ago.

Like I said, this was kind of an emotional win when you think about what Atlanta Motor Speedway is all about to our family, the memories that are made here. This is one that we'll definitely remember forever.

It's cool to have my dad here to celebrate with.

Q. How mentally challenging is Atlanta now compared to Daytona or Talladega?

JOEY LOGANO: I mean, every Cup race is tough. Doesn't matter where it is, it's all tough in its own way.

Atlanta, the speedway racing that it is, handling comes into play a lot. You got to think of it in a different light than what you do at those type racetracks, Daytona or Talladega. It's kind of a mix in between it. Confused on what it wants to be.

I'd say it's going through puberty, it's in an awkward stage. It doesn't know what it wants to be. If it's a mile-and-a-half, superspeedway, at times in the race it feels like it's going back to a regular mile-and-a-half as tires wear out, but then you put tires on, it's easy wide open, changes the game. You just have to be evolving and changing a lot as you go along with it.

Yeah, mentally you're exhausted. Maybe not physically the most demanding racetrack, but mentally, yeah, I'm shot.

Q. There's not many drivers that are going to say they're comfortable with speedway racing. Over a third of your superspeedway finishes are inside of the top 10. Do you find a little bit of comfort racing this style?

JOEY LOGANO: No (laughter). I don't think anyone feels comfortable when you line up for a superspeedway 'cause honestly, I mean, I feel like half the races I finish is what it feels like. When you're strapped in, kind of feel like you got a 50/50 chance of seeing the checkered flag. It's not the most comforting feeling at all.

I'm not sure, typically there's not many drivers that really enjoy speedway racing, but I do get it from a fan's perspective. I sat up there in the FOX booth yesterday. Once everyone was done wrecking each other the first two stages, the last bit of that race was really entertaining. The Xfinity race I'm talking about.

This race there weren't very many wrecks at all. It was really solid racing. There were some interesting things going on. The stage going green, green flag cycles, interesting to see how that played out. The race in the final stage was super intense. Cars were in the fence. Cars were sliding up, making mistakes, all this stuff going on. We just didn't crash, which was amazing. Much better than what it was last time we were here.

Q. Given the start to the season, Chevrolet domination, but you talked earlier about the speed that the Fords have had. What does this mean to be able to put Ford in Victory Lane here at Atlanta?

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, I mean, it's great to get a win for Ford early in the season, get in the Playoffs. That's huge. You can go race aggressively. Like I said, we know what tracks we need to maximize. This is definitely one of them. We were able to do that.

Q. You referenced your memories here. Were there any races on that quarter mile that resembled anything like the last lap today?

JOEY LOGANO: No, 'cause the racing is so different. Can't draft a Bandolero very much. I think the coolest thing, you think about the garage today, how many of 'em started right here, right? Or raced here at some point, right? Coleman raced out here. I got videos of us racing each other out there. It's cool, right?

You think bout McReynolds. He's spotting. Started here. Austin Hill won yesterday, started here. David Ragan, Reed Sorenson. It's pretty neat to see the success of young racers that raced here, how they're still in the sport today, or made an impact in the sport at one point.

That says a lot about the program that Ken Ragan is running here. He does a tremendous job at really giving these kids a good opportunity, help guiding the parents.

It's not just the kids, right? I'm realizing this now as I get older, and my son has run one race. The amount of work it takes as a parent to get the car ready, get the car here, a hell of a commitment. I don't know if I'm quite ready for all this. It's a lot for the whole family (laughter).

It's a big deal. Like I said, to see those kids racing out here at the time for fun, and they made a career out of it, it's pretty cool.

Q. You referenced you stopped and talked to a couple of kids racing Legends here now. Any particular conversation that stuck out to you?

JOEY LOGANO: Honestly just brings back a lot of memories. I remember coming here for Cup weekend. I'd walk around hoping to meet drivers, an owner, maybe they know my name, someday they'll remember that they met me, maybe they'll help me get a chance to drive a Cup car someday, right? That was a thought.

That's why it was always such a big deal. We raced on Cup weekend out there. You hoped that the big guys were watching you. A lot of times they were. That was always a special thing. Obviously their race got rained out this weekend, unfortunately.

The memories of talking to the kids, Hero cards, I got three Hero cards this weekend, they signed it for me. Someday I may be racing against them, right? It doesn't take too long. It was 10 years before this I was trying to get Tony Stewart's autograph, 10 years before I took his ride. I didn't take his ride, but he left. I replaced him in his car. 10 years go by just like that. I'll be pretty old in 10 years, but at some point there's definitely a chance.

Q. You talked about Coleman earlier. You spotted for him at Hickory. Do you feel there's so much good communication because of his background as a driver and his family's background?

JOEY LOGANO: Yeah, Coleman is my best friend. We grew up together. We were roommates when I moved out of my parents' place. We talk to each other every day. Probably no one besides my wife that knows me better than Coleman does.

We're able to prepare together and understand what each other's thinking before the race starts. I think that's what's made us a real threat on the racetrack, is that he knows me, right? He knows exactly what I'm thinking. He can guide me into the right scenario. Even if he knows I'm thinking a certain direction, if he sees it's wrong, before I even make the move, he knows to tell me not to do it, or give me enough information.

That's just a really valuable thing to have. Even during the race, he knows when I'm going to need some kind of information from Paul, be able to communicate that to me without me asking. The distraction of wondering inside the car is not good, right?

I think the relationship is the number one thing that makes us great, but I also think his racing knowledge is second to none up there. He really just truly understands speedway racing for one, but racing in general.

Coleman can call the race if he ever had to. He's just smart, gets it. I think those things together, him being able to communicate what he's seeing to me works out really well. When you get the three of us together - Coleman, Paul, myself - the communication is good. We're able to fill each other's gaps. We're three very different people. We're able to fill in each other's gaps which makes us a solid team.

Q. Coming into the race there was all this talk about turn three. It got tested under scheduled green flag stops. What was that like trying to take that long pit road under green and managing the lights? Did it make you nervous when you realized you were coming on lap 130?

JOEY LOGANO: I wasn't as nervous about myself doing it. I was more nervous about a caution coming out after we pitted. It hasn't cycled through, you're stuck down, I don't know if we were down one or two laps. That was more. I think we were down one, but the leader was right behind me, like right behind me. We still cycled out to the lead on that whole thing.

It was fine. Just you can't make a mistake 'cause rolling down in other times like the death penalty, that's a tough one to overcome in the race, which Blaney was able to overcome, which I didn't think was possible. It ended up working out for him. It ended up working out, right?

If we had green flag stops with the old pit road, I'm not sure we'd get through a cycle. Where everyone had to slow down was in the middle of the draft, it would have been a mess. Kudos to NASCAR for realizing there's an issue with the racetrack and we needed to come up with some kind of fix for that scenario, and it actually happened. I'm glad we did something and it ended up just working out fine.

Q. For kids that are wanting to be like you, how important is it to start off in the Bandos and Legends?

JOEY LOGANO: I mean, it probably depends on your age some. I think it's a good way to learn the basics of racing, right? I always say this is your college education in a way. When I have an RCD. What is that? Race car driver. I don't have a Ph.D., but I got an RCD. That comes from years of racing, actually going out there and doing it, learning about your race car, working on your race car, learning the craft out there. But most importantly having fun. That's the biggest thing. When you're racing out here at this level, don't make it too serious, right? You need to try hard, don't get me wrong, but you need to enjoy it and have fun.

You never know when that's going to end. Not everyone gets the opportunity to drive a race car, get to push a car as hard as you possibly can and race it. That's cool. You never know when that's going to end. You got to always enjoy what you're doing. If you don't enjoy it, stop, because that's the most fun you're ever going to have driving a race car is right here. It eventually turns into a job. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. There's a lot more that goes into this than going and having fun. It's not a hobby any more. At this level it should be a hobby, something you do with your family, to enjoy that, but also take the opportunity to learn as much as possible to work on your RCD, yep.

THE MODERATOR: Joey, congratulations on the victory. Good luck next week in Austin, Texas.

JOEY LOGANO: Thank you very much. See you there.


Ford Finishing Results:


1st – Joey Logano

2nd – Brad Keselowski

7th – Ryan Blaney

11th – Austin Cindric

15th – Todd Gilliland

21st – Michael McDowell

24th – Chase Briscoe

25th – Cody Ware

26th – JJ Yeley

28th – Ryan Preece

30th – Aric Almirola

33rd – Kevin Harvick

34th – Harrison Burton

35th – Chris Buescher


  • Joey Logano won his first race of the season with today’s victory.
  • 8 Ford drivers led a combined 221 of the 260 laps with Logano leading a race-high 140.
  • Ford swept all three stages: Logano winning 1 and 3, and Austin Cindric taking Stage 2.
  • The win today is the 32nd of his Cup Series career and 30th with Ford.
  • Those 30 wins put him in a tie with Dale Jarrett for 4th on the all-time Ford win list.
  • Today’s win is Ford’s 721st all-time in NASCAR Cup Series competition.


JOEY LOGANO, No. 22 Autotrader Ford Mustang – VICTORY LANE INTERVIEW

“We lost our track position there for a minute, but was able to just stay patient and work on it and this amazing fast race car allowed me to really make some great moves on the racetrack and getting the push there on the last lap to get to the outside of Brad. Just getting to break the plane of his back bumper was gonna be my only chance there and I was able to get him there and get the push from the 20 on the backstretch. Overall, just a really fast Ford Mustang is what it came down to. It’s nice to win with Autotrader on the car. I don’t think I’ve ever won a race without Shell on the car. It means a lot to get this one in Victory Lane. It’s been a lot of years coming. Atlanta, this means so much to me to win here. So many memories of driving my Legends car right here where we’re standing when I was 9 years old. This is a really special one and a dream come true.”


YOU WERE ABLE TO CONTROL THE FIELD MUCH OF THE DAY, BUT HOW DID IT CHANGE THE FINAL STAGE? “The intensity ratcheted up, obviously. I’ve got great teammates and I wanted to stick with them. There were plenty of times I could have moved up, but I didn’t want to leave my teammates down there. I wanted them behind me. I knew how fast their cars were. If I could pick one, that’s the one I want, so I was able to try to keep them with me. I thought with two to go the outside lane got three cars, four cars clear and I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’m gonna make it here,’ but I got a good push – enough to get to the outside of the 6 and that was the big difference.”


BRAD KESELOWSKI, No. 6 King’s Hawaiian Ford Mustang – “The bottom row came with a huge run. I don’t know how and I thought I had it blocked and Joey just kept shaking and his car didn’t stall out. I couldn’t get the push down the back. I thought, ‘I’ll just get a push down the back,’ and the 20 car just hauled down there. A great run all-in-all for our RFK King’s Hawaiian Ford Mustang. We were right there. I’m glad a Ford won. It was a heck of a battle. The coolest thing about this is two veterans showed that you can run a race here side-by-side bump drafting and not wreck the field. It can happen if you race respectfully and I thought everybody did a great job. We were right there. I’m proud of my team and the effort, just not much we could do there.”


YOUR TEAM HAS COME SO FAR. “It’s night and day from where we were a year ago, 100 percent. You just keep running like this with good finishes and the wins will come.”


AUSTIN CINDRIC, No. 2 Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang – “Certainly a really solid day, a great points day for our Menards/Knauf Ford Mustang. It’s great to get a car in Victory Lane. I felt like we brought three of the best cars in Georgia and I think we showed it being able to string along the bottom line better than anyone else between myself and Ryan and Joey. It was just a perfect visual representation of teamwork all the way through the weekend, so congratulations to everyone at the shop and everyone on the 22 team, Autotrader. It’s cool to get the win and try and come back here during the summer and do the same.”


CHRIS BUESCHER, No. 17 Violet Defense Ford Mustang – “First off, our Violet Defense Ford Mustang was really fast and I’m proud of everybody for that. I made a mistake on pit road by getting a speeding penalty and that put us back in the field. We drove back up to third. The speed was there and we were doing it without unnecessary pushes in the center of the corner. I haven’t seen a replay to know exactly what happened, but I’ve got a pretty good feeling.”


KEVIN HARVICK, No. 4 Busch Light Ford Mustang – “I think he just caught me so quick right there in the middle of the corner and then he kind of was up on the right rear part of the corner and he came back down and when he came back down it just spun the thing out. I don’t think he actually even hit me, but it started chattering the rear tires and then I was just along for the ride.”


HARRISON BURTON, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Mustang – “I don’t even know what caused our wreck. I was looking back and forth between the windshield and the mirror trying to block people from being aggressive and taking you in the middle of three-wide. I looked back and forth and by the time I looked back they were wrecking in front of me. It’s just one of those deals. It was such a frustrating deal. I feel like our qualifying effort was not very good, obviously. I about crashed in qualifying, but I felt really good about our car in the race, but I just could not gain track position to maintain it. It’s really, really hard to leapfrog your way forward a lot of spots. It’s just frustrating how that worked out. Once you’re back there, you’re bound to get pushed into all the wrecks for sure.”


ARIC ALMIROLA, No. 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang – “I’m OK. It knocked the wind out of me, mostly because it caught me by surprise, but I’m OK. I blew a tire. I just blew a tire. I have no idea why. We had way less laps on that set of tires than we had earlier, so I don’t know.”

Ford Performance PR

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by crew chief Paul Wolfe of the No. 22 Autotrader Ford for Team Penske.

Paul, you put together a really dominant car today. A lot of drama at the finish. Walk through the car today and how it performed, your excitement for this victory here at Atlanta.

PAUL WOLFE: Yeah, obviously very excited. Coming into the weekend, we expected to have speed, but we knew based off of Daytona we were going to have to work on handling much more, not only from a speedway perspective, but then you come to Atlanta, a tighter track. We knew based off of last year we were going to have to work on that.

No practice makes that tough because you just don't know how much of a change to make. But proud of all the guys and all the work on simulation to figure it out.

We were fast in qualifying. Made quite a few adjustments going into the race. Was a little concerned about how far off our balance would be. But honestly, I did a little bit of air pressure during the race at a few stops. Other than that, it drove really well.

Excited for the whole team effort. Obviously the 12 and the 2 were very strong today, were able to work together, help us a lot at the end. That was key to be able to make that surge on the bottom line.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open the floor up for questions.

Q. A lot of the race was single file, a lot of the race was two lanes. How were y'all able to determine how you might be able to make both lanes work?

PAUL WOLFE: Well, I think our car was strong enough when we were leading early in the race. I think at a couple points a couple guys tried to make the bottom work. I think you had to have a really strong car and guys that could work with you very well to make the bottom work.

I think after the first stage of the race, Joey realized how strong his car was. We lost the lead off of pit road there at one point. But I was okay with that. I wanted to save a little fuel for that final stop to speed that up. Then we got shuffled around and lost our track position in that sequence.

From there, it was really trying to stay out of trouble. Obviously he dodged a couple wrecks and we were able to get back towards the front. Once we got our teammate back behind us, we were able to make the bottom work.

Like I said, I think there were only a few cars that could really do that from a handling perspective. You had to have speed and handling to make that work. The Autotrader Ford was strong today. I'm proud of all the effort.

Q. You know Brad, Joey. What was it like from your perspective to see those two racing for the win the at a speedway-type of race?

PAUL WOLFE: Obviously, it was exciting. I about lost my voice at the end of the race screaming on the end of the pit box. It was exciting. I thought it was great racing till the end.

Obviously Brad is great at this type of racing. I was listening to him and T.J., racing side by side, all the information he was getting. Obviously he's very good at blocking, being able to manage the lead. I know that.

The fact that Joey was able to make some of those moves that he did on him was pretty impressive. I know, like I said, how well Brad understands this type of race, how good he is at it.

Joey was at another level today. I think he had confidence in his car. When he has confidence in his car, he can make some magic happen out there, for sure.

Q. If you look around at the guys around you at the end, Brad is trying to win for the first time in a long time, Tyler Reddick with a new team, Corey LaJoie, a lot at stake. What does a win mean for you? What was at stake for you today?

PAUL WOLFE: Well, I think we say this every year. I think all teams feel this way. Winning early is what it's all about in this format. Win and you're in the Playoffs.

Just a bit of a relief. I think we haven't had the start to the season we'd want or hope for. The West Coast swing was pretty rough on us. We had speed at times, but not really where we need to be on any of those tracks. So we've got our work cut out for us.

We know the speedways with all the aero changes to all the manufacturers, the speedways are probably the strengths for the Fords right now. I think we saw that in Daytona as well. If you look at qualifying yesterday, that will probably point to that same sign.

We have to take advantage of these races right now. If this is our strength, we got to make sure we execute. That's probably what I'm most proud of, is we were able to come here and get the win. Now we've really have to squeeze hard to get more speed out of our cars on the downforce tracks.

Q. The vibe, the atmosphere around the team after the last two weeks? Last year you won Vegas and Phoenix. Didn't look like you were all that great at either track last couple weeks.

PAUL WOLFE: No, and that's what I said, it's tough. You go to both of those tracks, and we weren't there very long ago, just at the end of the season, were able to win at both of them, in dominant fashion. You kind of go back there with things that you know work from a setup perspective, and you don't have the speed, it's a little alarming, for sure. Trying to understand it all.

We know from an aero perspective things have changed. So I'm not saying we don't need to adjust our setups a little bit to accommodate that, but it comes to a point where there's only so much you can do with the amount of downforce you have in your car.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAUL WOLFE: I mean, yeah, we're down. We're disappointed. We don't like it. We want to win. We expect to win. Our sponsor, all our supporters, expect us to win. So it's tough.

That's why I say, getting this win here now gets a little bit of confidence maybe. We still know how to do this. It may be a little more difficult, like I said, at some of these other tracks.

We're going to continue to work hard. By no means we don't feel like we can't compete at those tracks. When you go there with stuff that you're able to have success with last year, then not have the speed, it's frustrating.

Q. You won the first stage, the second stage. Middle of the third stage you're in 20th place. What was the conversation on the radio with Joey? Was he stressed, worried? How did he handle the circumstances?

PAUL WOLFE: Well, I think obviously we were all a little bummed. We lost track position. Knowing how hard it was, as you watch the race play out, especially when the race would get single file, it was very hard for guys to move. It was a little concerning.

I felt like our car seemed to have pretty good speed and handling compared to most. I commented to him about that at one point. I feel like we're quite a bit better than these guys in front of us. You got to have some help to go with you, too.

He made some good moves and was able to miss some of the wrecks. We did get some of our track position back just by steering clear of that. As we got ourselves in the top 10, I think guys know we had a strong car, are willing to go with you. You got to have that help to really make the bottom work.

Ultimately at the end with our teammates pushing, we were able to show our strength again.

Q. A technical question. This race was run under relatively cold temperature conditions. When you're coming back here later in the year in July, it will be hotter. How big is the influence of hot and cold temperatures on the setup and aero package of the car?

PAUL WOLFE: Yeah, it will definitely make a difference. It was quite cool here. Once that track heats up, it starts getting slick. At that point you're going to have to add more downforce to the cars.

We'll take what we had today, learn from that, but understand that when we come back, if it's 80-degree temperatures, we'll have to put some more downforce in the car, which we definitely have that adjustability with this new car. Working with your ride heights and those types of things, you can change your downforce levels.

Obviously you're going to add drag at some point. For us, it's about being able to keep the pedal down at these style of tracks.

There's definitely a tradeoff, but you try to find efficient ways to add downforce. That's what we'll have to do to come back and be able to have that same success.

Q. Did you feel like you were watching a chess match between Brad and Joey there?

PAUL WOLFE: Absolutely. That's why I say it was so exciting to be able to get the win because I knew how hard they were both working to try to manage the race and lead the race. It was super exciting to watch from the pit box for me. Even more exciting that we were able to come out on top, of course.

Q. You said you lost your voice. Were you shouting?

PAUL WOLFE: I was just shouting after we came across the line and won the race with the guys. I don't usually get too emotional. That was a fun race to watch, to be able to pull it off.

Q. The final laps, the crew chief's role here is different than other tracks. Here it's really driver-spotter. The last six laps, what were you doing, saying, or just taking it in?

PAUL WOLFE: Really just taking it in. Once we pitted for the last time, like I told Joey, everyone is good from here to the end. At that point you're not coming back down pit road unless you have an issue or something.

Obviously the tires held up good today. There's plenty of grip in the tires. There would be no reason to give up track position and pit again.

At that point it's kind of up to Coleman and Joey. Obviously they did a great job. Coleman and Joey's relationship is strong. They're really on the same page when it comes to this style of racing.

Q. We hear a lot about with the superspeedway races the manufacturers working together. It seems like that is not as much the case here at Atlanta. Is that visual? Do you spend as much time working on that for this race?

PAUL WOLFE: No, it's not quite as much. I think obviously we were strong with our teammates. Worked well with the 12 and the 2. I wouldn't say we put as much time and planning with the rest of the Ford teams here as what we would at Daytona or Talladega.

Kind of the way the pitting works here, you don't really need help during the pit cycle. If we were to pit under green, it's easier to get on and off of pit road here with the uniqueness of it, so we didn't really feel like that planning was necessary.

They still help each other when they're out there racing, when they can. There's not like a specific order or anything like that when we come here.

THE MODERATOR: Paul, congratulations again on the win. Good luck next week at COTA.

PAUL WOLFE: All right, guys. Thank you.


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