FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: ATLANTA NOTES
Ford Performance will be looking to win the first two Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races of the season for the first time since 2009 when Atlanta Motor Speedway hosts Sunday’s Folds of Honor/QuikTrip 500. That also marks the last time a Ford driver captured the first two races (Matt Kenseth), and it’s something Kurt Busch will try to duplicate after winning Sunday’s Daytona 500.
LORENZEN LAPS THE FIELD
Ford went to victory lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time in 1961 when NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen captured the Festival 250 on July 9 while driving for Holman-Moody. He did it in dominating fashion as well by lapping the field. Lorenzen, who led 52 laps on the day, beat runner-up Bob Welborn by one lap in his 1961 Ford. Richard Petty finished third that afternoon, but was three laps down. That victory served as a springboard for Lorenzen’s future success at AMS, which included becoming the first driver to win the Atlanta 500 three straight years (1962-63-64).
Marvin Panch was the first driver to sweep both AMS races in a single season when he did it in 1965 with the Wood Brothers. Georgia native Bill Elliott posted a pair of season sweeps (1985 and 1992) and won five times overall while Carl Edwards registered the first win of his career at the speedway in 2005 and matched it later that fall.
Morgan Shepherd capturing Ford’s 400th series victory in 1993 when snow delayed the Motorcraft Quality Parts 500 for nearly a week. The original race date was Sunday, March 14, 1992, but a blizzard that would eventually be called the ‘Storm of the Century’ pounded the Atlanta area with 6-8 inches of snow. An estimated 82,000 fans came back the following Saturday, where they were greeted by souvenir rigs that sports t-shirts proclaiming ‘I Survived the Atlanta Blizzard 500.’ When the race started Mark Martin had the dominant car as he led 140 of the first 225 laps, but engine problems put him out of the running and Shepherd took advantage as he stretched his fuel mileage to the finish, leading the final 12 laps and winning by a whopping 23.50 seconds. The win for Shepherd, who was 51 at the time, was his fourth and final victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
EDWARDS DOES BACKFLIP FOR THIRD TIME
It’s been more than seven years since Ford has gone to victory lane in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at AMS. The last time came on Oct. 26, 2008 when Carl Edwards beat Jimmie Johnson to the finish line by 2.684 seconds. The win was Edwards’ third at the track and first since sweeping both events in 2005, which was his first full season on the circuit. In addition, it moved Edwards up two spots into second-place in the point standings, but he was still a distant 183 points behind Johnson with only three races to go. Edwards eventually finished runner-up in the Chase that season by 69 points.
FORD’S ATLANTA CUP WINNERS
1961 – Fred Lorenzen
1962 – Fred Lorenzen
1963 – Fred Lorenzen
1964 – Fred Lorenzen and Ned Jarrett
1965 – Marvin Panch (sweep)
1967 – Cale Yarborough and Dick Hutcherson
1968 – LeeRoy Yarbrough
1969 – LeeRoy Yarbrough
1975 – Buddy Baker
1978 – Bobby Allison
1981 – Neil Bonnett
1985 – Bill Elliott (sweep)
1987 – Ricky Rudd and Bill Elliott
1990 – Morgan Shepherd
1991 – Mark Martin
1992 – Bill Elliott (sweep)
1993 – Morgan Shepherd
1994 – Ernie Irvan and Mark Martin
1997 – Dale Jarrett
2002 – Kurt Busch
2005 – Carl Edwards (sweep)
2008 – Carl Edwards