Atlanta Providing Plenty of Allure For Drivers As Season Approaches
The Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Technocom, NASCAR's annual season kick-off press conference, continued with Day 3 on Wednesday at Charlotte Convention Center in Downtown Charlotte, North Carolina.
The following are notes and quotes from NASCAR drivers and teams relating to Atlanta Motor Speedway and the upcoming Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 weekend Feb. 26-March 1.
Joey Logano, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver for Team Penske
Logano finished in second place in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Logano is a former Legends and bandolero car driver at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"I love Atlanta. I love going there. It's such a fun race track for me. When I first started, I hated it. I wasn't any good there, and ever since I got to Team Penske, I've really worked hard at trying to improve my weakness."
"I felt like we should have won there in '13. Last year we also had a fast race car. So, I look forward to going there and trying to get a win, especially if you can get a win early in the season. That's always nice."
"Atlanta for me, I lived there for six years. It's one of those race tracks that's special to win at. I've watched probably more Cup races there than I've raced in it so far, so that also makes it a little more special after watching that many there."
Greg Biffle, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver for Roush Fenway Racing
On Atlanta moving to the second stop on the 2015 NASCAR schedule:
"When you have a track that wears a tire quickly and its abrasive and you put hot temperatures or warm weather along with that, that makes a very difficult race track to race on, so I like it being early in the season, the second race of the season. I think it's going to be good for Atlanta, good for the racing and good for the teams to be that close. And I like them aligning the west coast races together versus crisscrossing the country. That makes it difficult for teams. Ultimately, I think it's the right thing for the teams to align those races together, so I like what they've done."
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver for Roush Fenway Racing
Stenhouse Jr. won the 2012 NASCAR Xfinity Series race in Atlanta
He also won the pole at Atlanta's 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race
"Man, I love Atlanta. (It will) be cool to go there early in the season this year. I'm anxious to get there. We've got a lot of new things coming as far as our mile-and-a-half, like Jack (Roush) was saying earlier that we've really been focusing on. Kind of anxious to get to that practice day at Atlanta and see what we can make out of our Fords there."
"Atlanta is a race track that you can kind of run anywhere you want. It's rough. The tires wear out. And I think the cars being sideways and not really handling exactly like you want is fun."
Darrell Wallace, Jr., NASCAR Sprint Xfinity Series driver for Roush Fenway Racing
Wallace finished third in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings in 2014.
He will drive full time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2015 for Roush Fenway Racing and will make his first-ever start in Atlanta Feb. 28.
"The real racing - I like to say - starts at Atlanta for us. The tire fall-off is huge there, so we've gotta know how to maintain that and be fast at the same time. Chad and I have talked a lot about it, and he said that they've missed on a couple things at Atlanta, but they know what they've missed on, so they can come back and be prepared for the season coming."
Aric Almirola, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver for Richard Petty Motorsports
Almirola earned his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at Daytona in July last year.
On the new race date at Atlanta Motor Speedway:
"I'm excited about going to Atlanta early in the year. It has the potential to be very cold, which makes the speeds go way up, which means that we won't be letting off the gas very much. We'll be going extremely fast. It'll be exciting. I think it'll put on a real good race at Atlanta."
On the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series race doubleheader at AMS on Feb. 28:
"You typically see a good truck race there and a good ... Xfinity race now. They usually put on a really good race. Any time there's a restart, it's usually crazy, because they've got so much grip because the weather's cool and they don't have very much horsepower, so everybody runs in a small pack for a few laps. I think you'll see a lot of that."
Trent Owens, crew chief for Aric Almirola
"Atlanta, just from a testing standpoint, is hard, because the tires wear so fast. Our focus is going to be taking our primary car, taking the additional track time and just really trying to fine tune for that weekend. It's not like we're not going to be testing through the season, but at least the open day in Atlanta, I'm glad they did that to let us get adjusted to the horsepower change and aerodynamic change. But we're really just going to focus on extra practice for that race weekend."
Michael McDowell, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver for Leavine Family Racing
On why Atlanta Motor Speedway is popular among NASCAR drivers:
"The reason it's a favorite is because it's rough and it's fast, and it's wore out and not wore out in a bad way but in a good way, because you can move around. From a driver's standpoint, you like the challenge. That's what makes it fun. You can push hard and pay the price later or you can save some of your stuff."
On what he expects in 2015 with respect to NASCAR's new rules package:
"We all don't know what the new rule package is going to be like as far as when we get to Atlanta. We all have a good idea and we can kind of guess based on some tire testing and things they've done in the off-season. But until you get out there and you get all the cars out there, we really won't know what we'll have until we do that."
On the importance of the first open team test of the season at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Feb. 26:
"For small teams like us, not having the infrastructure and engineering and simulation and things like that, that Atlanta test can be very critical for us. Really important to shake everything down for us and know where we're at and have a good baseline. It'll be a very critical part for us just to learn this new rules package and what the car is going to take and what we're going to have to do. We're kind of guessing at this point, hoping that we know what we need to adjust and how we know how to adjust."
The Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour presented by Tehcnocom wraps up with its fourth and final day tomorrow. Keep up to date with all the exciting updates of the tour with the live feed from Performance Racing Network at http://www.goprn.com/shows/stream/.