Stenhouse leads FOHQT500 practice at all-new Atlanta Motor Speedway
America’s best drivers took their first laps on the new-look Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday.
If first impressions are any indication of the future, with multiple grooves and plenty of side-by-side action, fans are in for a thrilling weekend of racing at AMS.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. turned a lap of 186.616 mph (29.708 seconds) in practice for Sunday’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 NASCAR Cup Series race (3 p.m., Fox). Stenhouse, driving the No. 47 Chevrolet, will start 28th in Sunday’s race.
Saturday’s practice session was the first time a full field of Cup Series drivers and cars formally worked out Atlanta’s revamped track, which features 28 degrees of banking in every turn of the 1.54-mile layout and the Speedway’s first new asphalt layer since 1997. Thirty-six of the 37 entries turned at least 20 laps during the session.
“We’ve got 500 miles to go,” Stenhouse said. “Drivers are going to be worn out on Sunday with how on top of things you have to be. It will be crazy to watch this.
“That’s the tightest I’ve seen all of us together on a race track in a long time.”
Chase Briscoe starts on the pole Sunday, with veteran Ryan Blaney in the No. 2 spot. The field’s starting order was set by NASCAR’s formula after all qualifying sessions were canceled following Friday’s inclement weather.
“This is a wild, wild racing style,” said Harrison Burton, who starts 31st on Sunday. “It was fun to go out and try and dice it up. The race will be fun for the fans.”
Among other notables, Cup Series points leader Joey Logano starts third, four-time Atlanta champion Kurt Busch starts ninth, defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Larson starts 21st and two-time Atlanta winner Brad Keselowski starts 24th.
In Saturday’s earlier practice sessions, Jeb Burton led the Nalley Cars 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series field with a speed of 178.879 mph (30.993 seconds) while Tyler Ankrum paced the Fr8 208 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series contingent with a speed of 181.60 mph (30.527 seconds).
For more information on this weekend’s events, or to purchase tickets, visit AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com or call 877-9-AMS-TIX.