All three NASCAR Series On Track As Race Weekend Accelerates at AMS
With the Camping World Truck Series and XFINITY Series racing slated for a Saturday doubleheader, Friday track time was primarily reserved for practices. The morning XFINITY Series practices ran from 10-10:55 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 12:55 p.m. Sprint Cup practice from 1-2:25 p.m. leads up Drive Sober Georgia Qualifying Day at 5:45 p.m. The trucks get a final practice from 2:30-5:25 p.m. All practices and the Sprint Cup qualifying are being broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
Patrick pleased with early returns at Atlanta
Danica Patrick cut to the chase in assessing her past track performances at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"It went good last time," Patrick said. "It probably sucked before that.
"And that's just the way racing is — sometimes you're good, sometimes you're not."
Patrick was sixth here in 2014, her best finish of the season, and is looking to use the 1.5-mile oval as a springboard into a successful 2015.
"I was definitely hopeful yesterday (Thursday) working with (crew chief) Daniel (Knost) for the first time here at this track and I think we had a pretty good first day," Patrick said. "It was a good steady day. We found a couple of things that were good and a couple of things that weren't as good.
"I've said plenty of times that, in a race weekend, if you can find just one or two good changes to your race car, that you have a shot at a decent weekend."
The early lineup of tracks include several where Patrick has fared well and she's looking to lay a good foundation.
"It's always nice to start well because it seems like you spend the whole year catching up if you don't," Patrick said. "There are a lot of little reasons why it would be really nice to start off where we can have a decent point-standing position — for logistical reasons and confidence."
Each weekend, cars are arranged in the garage according to the standings.
"It affects you a little bit emotionally," Patrick said. "It's a constant reminder of where you're standing in points."
It also effects when cars roll off pit lane for the first practice.
"Those are the fastest laps on the track and generally the first cars out at the fastest cars out," Patrick said. "They're there because they're fast, but those are the best track conditions, too.
"I've definitely spent plenty of my Cup career waiting for a hole on pit lane for the first 20-something cars to get a run in because the track is full."
Patrick is excited about the unrealized potential of her team with Knost as the new crew chief.
"So far so good," Patrick said. "It's my fourth year in stock car and my third in Cup. It's Daniel's sixth year in NASCAR and second year as a crew chief. So we don't have a ton of experience. You would think there is only up to go. The potential of where we could end up is encouraging."
The Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano is among 10 drivers entered in both the Hisense 250 XFINITY Series race on Saturday and the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday.
Logano, who was 14th at last Labor Day's Sprint Cup race in Atlanta, has a top-five and a top-10 finish in eight starts at the storied oval. Statistically, Atlanta is one of the tracks were Logano has fared the worst, but he'll have two chances to make a mark this weekend. And Logano picked up two of his five wins last season at 1.5-mile tracks (Texas and Kansas).
He had the fastest car in Friday's early XFINITY practice session at 182.807 mph.
Also tackling the both races is defending Cup champ Kevin Harvick, who has one win, five top-five and nine top-10 finishes in 24 Sprint starts here. Harvick led a race-high 195 laps last season before a late wreck left him in 19th place.
Harvick dialed it in quickly during Friday's early practice with the third fastest time (182.591 mph).
Joining Logano and Harvick in the double-dip are Sam Hornish Jr., who didn't race here last season and was 12th in 2012, Matt Kenseth, J.J. Yeley, Paul Menard, Mike Bliss, Landon Cassill, Regan Smith, Kyle Larson and Brendan Gaughan.
Three drivers — Daniel Suarez, Georgian John Wes Townley and Ryan Siegwill — will pull a true doubleheader in Saturday's Hisense 250 and Hyundai Construction Equipment 200 Camping World Truck Series races. Those drivers are:
One driver, Ty Dillon, is entered in all three races this weekend and was second fastest (182.639 mph) in the morning XFINITY practice.