Logano Keeps Rolling, Wins Pole For Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Race day has arrived at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as a full day of on-track activity kicked off with NASCAR XFINITY Series qualifying. The Camping World Truck Series qualifying immediately followed, and a rare same-day NASCAR doubleheader, the first since 2009, will take to the track in the afternoon, as the XFINITY Series Hisense 250 and the Camping World Truck Series Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 will run back-to-back races.
Logano rolling at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Joey Logano claimed his second pole in as many days Saturday morning with the fastest car in qualifying for the XFINITY Series Hisense 250 with a top lap speed of 184.162 miles per hour. He was also fastest around the 1.5-mile oval Friday to claim the pole for Sunday's Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. This is the 27th time he has sat on the pole for a NASCAR XFINITY Series race.
"Hopefully we can just keep rolling," said Logano, the winner of the season opener at Daytona last week. "We've had a couple fast race cars. Hopefully they've got some long runs in them. They've definitely got short-run speed — we showed that in qualifying. Hopefully they last throughout the race."
Brian Scott was second with a top lap of 182.988 mph, sorting out some issues from Friday's practice session.
"Our Shore Lodge Chevrolet is a lot better than it was in practice," Scott said. "We found a carburetor issue and once we got that fixed, our speed really picked up. I didn't feel like our lap was good enough for the pole so I'm happy with second. I just didn't have the rear grip that I need.
"I mean, nothing seems to get in the way of Logano right now. He's on a hot streak. So we'll just have to go get him in the race."
Regan Smith, Kyle Larson and Matt Kenseth round out the top five for Saturday afternoon's race. Brenden Gaughan was sixth, Ryan Seig was seventh and Kevin Harvick was eighth.
Dawsonville's Chase Elliott qualified ninth in the NAPA Auto Parts Chevy and Sam Hornish Jr. made the top 10.
Starting at the back
Several top drivers in the Sprint Cup Series missed yesterday's qualifying during yesterday's Drive Sober Georgia Qualifying Day and will have to fight from the back of the field in tomorrow's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Among them, past champions Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth and their teams have their work cut out for them in the 500 mile race.
"Its unfortunate that we didn't make it through tech in time to put a lap on the board and will have to start 39th," said Johnson. But the Lowe's Chevy is fast and we will have to work our way through the field. Not the way we wanted to start out the weekend for sure."
New race sponsor
Hisense, a multibillion dollar global conglomerate which makes its U.S. home in Suwanee, Ga., announced an expanded NASCAR presence Saturday.
On the heels of its first sponsorship foray with the XFINITY Series Hisense 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the brand is partnering with Joe Gibbs Racing and Charlotte Motor Speedway. Hisense will be the primary sponsor for Denny Hamlin in two XFINITY Series races this season and for the May XFINITY race in Charlotte.
"I don't venture into the XFINITY Series too often so when I do it's usually a situation like this where you want to represent a great company coming into NASCAR," Hamlin said. "Hisense did a great job integrating what their brand is about into NASCAR.
"I'm excited about it. Obviously with the new rules in the Cup Series with the horsepower reduction, those cars are going to drive more and more like the XFINITY cars. I believe driving this Hisense car for a couple races will reap benefits for us in the long run."