Kasey Kahne fastest after Harvick blows
Kasey Kahne | 5
(February 28, 2015 1:23 PM EST)
Kasey Kahne posted the fastest single lap of qualification behind Kevin Harvick in final practice after the No. 4 blew an engine. Kahne’s top speed was 189.805 mph compared to Harvick’s 191.054 mph.
Kahne is the defending winner of this race and he starts exactly where he did in 2014. Last year, he slipped back into the middle of the pack for a while, but he could be a great choice if he can maintain his spot on Sunday through the first half of the event.
Kevin Harvick blows in final practice
Kevin Harvick | 4
(February 28, 2015 12:33 PM EST)
Kevin Harvick blew an engine in Saturday’s practice for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500. He will be forced to the back of the pack when the team makes an engine change. He will give up his outside pole start. Prior to blowing, Harvick had the fastest single lap of practice at 191.054 mph.
Under normal circumstances that might be a huge deficit, but with Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Stewart failing to post a qualification lap, there will be a lot of drivers coming from the back.
Logano scores twin poles at Atlanta
Joey Logano | 22
(February 28, 2015 11:58 AM EST)
Sprint Cup regular Joey Logano will not only start Sunday's Sprint Cup Series race on the pole but he also won the Coors Light Pole Award for today's XFINITY Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
His lap of 184.162 mph in the No. 22 Discount Tire Ford Mustang earned him his 27th pole in 136 NASCAR XFINITY Series races. It is his first pole in five XFINITY Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Biffle: good, but rarely great at Atlanta
Greg Biffle | 16
(February 28, 2015 11:54 AM EST)
In 21 previous starts at Atlanta, Biffle has scored 10 top-10s and another four top-15s, but he rarely finds the very front of the pack. Biffle has only three top-fives, the best of which was a third in 2005.
Biffle should only be used by fantasy players if he fits a specific niche on their roster. Otherwise save him for Kansas, Bristol, or Michigan where he has his three-best career-average finishes.
Paul Menard is 3 for 4 with RCR at Atlanta
Paul Menard | 27
(February 28, 2015 11:15 AM EST)
Paul Menard has finished on the lead lap three times in four previous Atlanta attempts with Richard Childress Racing. His best result with this team was an eighth in 2012.
Menard can find the front of the pack on occasion because he also has a seventh with Dale Earnhardt Inc. in his inaugural attempt and a fifth with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2010. His career average is 20.5, which makes this his seventh-best track in that regard.
Regan Smith’s 1st Atlanta start since 2012
Regan Smith | 707
(February 28, 2015 11:04 AM EST)
On Sunday, Regan Smith will make his first start at Atlanta since the 2012 season. He finished 14th that afternoon racing for Barney Visser.
Notably, Smith lost his ride with Visser to make room for Kurt Busch. Now Smith is subbing for the suspended Busch and probably wants to make a statement. Intangibles such as that are hard to quantify, but they are real and powerful.
Clint Bowyer struggles at Atlanta
Clint Bowyer | 15
(February 28, 2015 10:57 AM EST)
Since joining Michael Waltrip Racing in 2012, Clint Bowyer has consistently struggled at Atlanta. His career-best finish with this team was a 27th in 2012 and his last two efforts ended in the high 30s.
Bowyer has not gotten off to a much stronger start this week with a 25th-best effort in qualification. That position would probably have been worse if not for 13 cars that failed to clear the inspection line, so Bowyer is probably best left in the garage. His all-time career best on this track is sixth, which he earned four times. The most recent occasion was back in 2009.
Bayne occasionally strong on track type
Trevor Bayne | 6
(February 28, 2015 10:50 AM EST)
Trevor Bayne has made 22 previous starts on NASCAR’s similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks and has one top-10 to show for his effort. That strong run came Las Vegas in 2012 when he finished ninth after starting 25th.
This week, Bayne starts a little deeper in the field in 29th and it is his first attempt with Roush-Fenway Racing. There are several drivers at his level and below who are more predictable, so it might be prudent for fantasy players to wait a week. NASCAR visits Las Vegas after Atlanta.
Michael Annett in for Brian Scott
Michael Annett | 46
(February 28, 2015 10:44 AM EST)
Michael Annett will replace Brian Scott in the No. 33 this week, according to a tweet from the track.
Annett is attempting to run the entire schedule while Scott is not and he was one of the 13 drivers who failed to clear inspection yesterday. He will take his sponsor to the No. 33 and add some resources to the lightly-funded team. Annett will have to start at the back of the pack due to the driver change, but his starting position will officially be listed as 32nd and games that offer place differential points will be based on that.
Bob Pockrass Twitter
Team 44 car recovered
Travis Kvapil | 894
(February 28, 2015 10:30 AM EST)
The No. 44 that Travis Kvapil was scheduled to drive this weekend at Atlanta has been recovered, according to tweets from the team’s account. The car was jettisoned without any damage, but the thieves apparently kept the trailer, spare engine, and parts.
The car was probably the most difficult piece to sell, but it was also the most expensive. Team 44 has plans to be in Las Vegas next week for the Kobalt 400.