TEAM CHEVY NASCAR RACE ADVANCE: Atlanta Motor Speedway

TEAM CHEVY ADVANCE
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Hampton, Georgia
February 23-24, 2024

TRIPLEHEADER AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Coming off a weekend sweep at Daytona International Speedway, momentum is on the side of Chevrolet’s drivers and teams as all three NASCAR national Series will head to Atlanta Motor Speedway for back-to-back weekends of superspeedway-style racing. The second stop of the 2024 season will feature a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) and NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) doubleheader on Saturday, February 24, followed by the NASCAR Cup Series on Sunday, February 25.

This weekend marks two years since Atlanta Motor Speedway underwent a massive reprofiling, including a complete repave, increased banking and narrowing of the track width – now providing teams with superspeedway-style racing at the 1.54-mile Georgia venue. Since competing on the revamped configuration, Chevrolet is the only manufacturer to win in all three NASCAR national series – earning three wins in four NCS races (William Byron – two; Chase Elliott – one), two wins in four NXS races (Austin Hill) and one win in two NCTS races (Christian Eckes).

 PACING IN THE PEACH STATE

Chevrolet has amassed a series-leading wins record across all three NASCAR national series at Atlanta Motor Speedway – heading into the weekend with 44 NASCAR Cup Series wins, 19 NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and 10 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series wins at the 1.54-mile Georgia venue.

Newly-crowned Daytona 500 Champion William Byron is the track’s most recent winner in NASCAR’s top division (July 2023). The 26-year-old Charlotte, North Carolina, native was leading the field at lap marker 185 when inclement weather forced the race to be deemed official. Byron led a quartet of Team Chevy drivers in the top-five, including a podium sweep with Trackhouse Racing’s Daniel Suarez (second) and Kaulig Racing’s AJ Allmendinger (third).

Also coming off a win at Daytona International Speedway, Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Hill is credited with both of Chevrolet’s NXS wins at the reprofiled Georgia venue – earning back-to-back victories in July 2022 and March 2023.

One year ago, McAnally-Hilgemann Racing’s Christian Eckes put Chevrolet back on the map in the NCTS at Atlanta Motor Speedway – delivering Chevrolet its first win in the series at the track since 2016. The victory came in only Eckes’ third NCTS start under the Bowtie banner – marking his first of a series-leading four victories last season.

 MAKING HISTORY

The 2024 NASCAR season-opener weekend started with Chevrolet reaching a milestone feat at Daytona International Speedway. Nick Sanchez and Rev Racing became first-time winners in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at Daytona International Speedway – a victory that also earned Chevrolet its milestone 100th NASCAR victory at the 2.5-mile Florida superspeedway. Fellow Team Chevy drivers William Byron and Austin Hill also picked up victories in their respective series to give the Bowtie brand a weekend sweep at the “World Center of Racing”. Chevrolet – the winningest manufacturer in NASCAR history at Daytona International Speedway – is now the only manufacturer in series’ history to sweep the wins across all three NASCAR national series in a season-opening weekend at the 2.5-mile Florida superspeedway more than once – also accomplishing the feat in 2018.

SANCHEZ, CARUTH START 2024 WITH CAREER-BESTS

With just one race in the books for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Team Chevy’s Nick Sanchez and Rajah Caruth have already tallied career-best finishes.

Enduring a caution-filled race and an overtime finish, Sanchez and Rev Racing claimed the victory in the NCTS’ season-opener at Daytona International Speedway – marking the first-ever win for both the driver and the team in the series. The victory came in Sanchez and Rev Racing’s sophomore season in the series, who are now competing as a technical alliance team with Spire Motorsports. Entering his seventh consecutive year with Rev Racing, Sanchez has now won in every series in which he has competed with the team. Sanchez’s previous career-best finish came at Atlanta Motor Speedway last season – finishing in the runner-up position by a mere 0.078-second margin to fellow Team Chevy driver Christian Eckes.

Also embarking on his second season in the series, Rajah Caruth topped his previous career-best sixth-place finish by driving his No. 71 Silverado RST to a third-place finish at Daytona International Speedway. A former teammate to Sanchez at Rev Racing, Caruth has teamed up with Spire Motorsports for the 2024 season as part of the organization’s full-time truck stable. The 21-year-old Atlanta, Georgia, native’s rookie NCTS campaign included four top-10 finishes and a 16th-place finish in the series’ final points standings.

BUSCH SET TO MAKE NCTS RETURN

Kyle Busch – the most decorated driver in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ history – is slated to make five starts in the series this season, with his first on tap at Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend. Busch’s five-race stint in the series will be behind the wheel of the No. 7 Silverado RST for Spire Motorsports, where the Chevrolet driver also serves as a consultant for the organization’s truck series program.

The 38-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada, native holds the title as the winningest driver in NCTS’ history with 64 all-time victories in the series. The 2023 season marked Busch’s first time competing in the series under the Chevrolet banner. In four of his five NCTS starts, Busch earned finishes no worse than second, including two victories. Busch’s most recent NCTS start at Pocono Raceway (July 2023) ended with a monumental victory – earning Kyle Busch Motorsports’ milestone 100th and final victory in the series. The Team Chevy driver has made 13 NCTS starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway – compiling six wins, nine top-five and 10 top-10 finishes at the track.


NEXT GEN CAMARO ZL1 LEADS IN SUPERSPEEDWAY TRIUMPHS

The 2024 season marks the third year of competition for the Next Gen cars in the NASCAR Cup Series. Since making its competition debut, the Camaro ZL1 has amassed wins in nine of the 13 superspeedway-style races – earning a winning percentage of nearly 70%. Further proving the strength across the Chevrolet camp, six drivers from four different Chevrolet teams have contributed to those triumphs:

 Atlanta Motor Speedway (March 20, 2022) – William Byron

 Talladega Superspeedway (April 24, 2022) – Ross Chastain

 Atlanta Motor Speedway (July 10, 2022) – Chase Elliott

 Daytona International Speedway (Aug. 29, 2022) – Austin Dillon

 Talladega Superspeedway (Oct. 2, 2022) – Chase Elliott

 Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 19, 2023) – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

 Talladega Superspeedway (April 23, 2023) – Kyle Busch

 Atlanta Motor Speedway (July 9, 2023) – William Byron

 Daytona International Speedway (Feb.19, 2024) – William Byron


BOWTIE BULLETS:

· Chevrolet will make its pacing debut for the 2024 NASCAR season this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Silverado RST will lead the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in Saturday’s Fr8 208; the Camaro SS will lead the NASCAR Xfinity Series in Saturday’s RAPTOR King of Tough 250; and the Camaro ZL1 will lead the NASCAR Cup Series in Sunday’s Ambetter Health 400.

· Active Chevrolet drivers with a NASCAR Cup Series win at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

William Byron – two wins (July 2023; March 2022)
Kyle Busch – two wins (Sept. 2013, March 2008)
Chase Elliott – one (July 2022)

· In 119 NASCAR Cup Series races held at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Chevrolet has recorded a series-leading 44 victories – most recently by the newly-crowned Daytona 500 Champion, William Byron, and the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro ZL1 team (July 2023).

· Since the debut of the Next Gen cars in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022, Chevrolet has won nine of the 13 superspeedway-style races – recorded by six drivers from four different Chevrolet teams.

· For the second time in history, Chevrolet swept the wins across all three NASCAR national series in the season-opening weekend at Daytona International Speedway – making Chevrolet the only manufacturer to accomplish that feat more than once.

· With its 42 NASCAR Cup Series Manufacturer Championships, 33 NASCAR Cup Series Driver Championships, and 852 all-time NASCAR Cup Series wins, Chevrolet continues to hold the title as the winningest brand in NASCAR Cup Series history.

Manufacturer Points Standings

Chevrolet: 40
Toyota: 34 (-6)
Ford: 28 (12)

Manufacturer Points Standings

Chevrolet: 40
Toyota: 35 (-5)
Ford: 31 (-9)

Manufacturer Points Standings

Chevrolet: 40
Toyota: 35 (-5)
Ford: 30 (-10)

TUNE-IN:

NASCAR Cup Series: Ambetter Health 400
Sunday, February 25, at 2:30 p.m. ET
(FOX, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90)

NASCAR Xfinity Series: RAPTOR King of Tough 250
Saturday, February 24, at 5 p.m. ET
(FS1, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90)

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series: Fr8 208
Saturday, February 24, at 2 p.m. ET
(FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90)

 QUOTABLE QUOTES:

Ross Chastain, No. 1 Moose Fraternity Camaro ZL1

How does it feel to be going to Atlanta this weekend as it’s only the second race of the season?

“It feels a little odd to be going to Atlanta so early in the season since it’s right after Daytona. We usually head out west and then come back to Atlanta. I’ve run second there a couple of times on the reconfigured surface so I feel like I at least have a little bit of an understanding on how to run the track there. It’s not exactly like a Daytona superspeedway but there are elements that feel superspeedway-like. Hopefully we can get the Moose Fraternity Chevrolet in victory lane this weekend.”

Austin Dillon, No. 3 BREZTRI Camaro ZL1

With the hybrid that is Atlanta Motor Speedway now, what did you have to learn to be successful at that track given the change in the track and change in the car?

“I haven’t been as successful as I’ve wanted to be at Atlanta Motor Speedway, so I’ve got to go to work on that one. In the first race we competed in on the new Atlanta Motor Speedway configuration, we were pretty good. I got turned at the end of the stage, and if we didn’t, we would’ve finished second or third. That was probably one of the best cars I’ve had there. Past that, Atlanta has been difficult because I’ve had some massive hits there.”

Corey LaJoie, No. 7 Celsius Camaro ZL1

Recently, you’ve had a couple really good runs at Atlanta Motor Speedway, so it seems like a place that’s climbing your list of favorite tracks.

“Since the Atlanta reconfiguration our Spire Motorsports team has had a good handle on it. As the surface has aged over the last several years it will look less like a Talladega and more like a really compacted pack at Charlotte. Handling will be a premium and with no practice we’re hoping we can nail down a good package in our Celsius Camaro. We’ve been in contention here multiple times and we’re going this weekend to try and do the same thing.”

Kyle Busch, No. 8 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Camaro ZL1

What are your thoughts on Atlanta Motor Speedway, especially with the relatively new configuration?

“Driving at the new Atlanta configuration is definitely challenging just due to the fact that it’s really, really fast and it’s a mile-and-a-half so it seems like the superspeedway speeds that you get at a mile-and-a-half make everything go by really quick and things happen quick, faster than a superspeedway. That’s definitely the challenging part. Understanding the grip level of what the cars have in the draft and the moves you can make is also pretty challenging. It’s easier for everybody to go fast with it being restrictor plate style racing and everybody being able to hold it wide-open for the most part is what makes it a plate race.”

Last year you won early and often. How important is it to get that out of the way early, then concentrate on what’s next?

“Yeah, no, winning early, man, that’s huge for your season. It kind of sets the tone, gives you a chance to know you’re in the Playoffs. You just have to make sure you keep everything else in order. If you’re getting into the July, August months, and you don’t have a win yet, it gets stressful. That’s not going to be a place where you want to get to.”

You had two top 10s at Atlanta last year. You really took to that track quickly, the reconfiguration, with a different car. What is it about it or are you just easy acclimation?

“We got lucky last year in the fifth-place finish because we stayed out on fuel mileage and then the rain came and gave up that opportunity. Track position is hard to get there. It’s hard to pass. It’s two lanes, two-wide. I felt really good about my car. I felt like I could go to the bottom and rip the bottom better than anybody, but then there was no room to get back in line on the top to get the straightaway speed you need. I kept getting sucked backwards every time I would try to pull out of line and try to make a move. It’s just hard to be patient in those situations and sit and ride.”

Daniel Hemric, No. 31 Cirkul Camaro ZL1

“I’m looking forward to another superspeedway-style race in Atlanta this week. I’ve personally never ran this NextGen Cup car at Atlanta, but I can remember the last few years watching as a fan and thinking it looked like absolute chaos. I’m excited to be part of that chaos this year and hopefully in the mix in our No. 31 Cirkul Camaro ZL1, just like we were in Daytona.”

Zane Smith, No. 71 City of Refuge Camaro ZL1

What are your thoughts on your first Daytona 500 with the Spire Motorsports Team?

“I’m super happy with how our team executed Daytona. I had a really fast WeatherTech Chevrolet Camaro and the guys worked hard all off-season to bring a fast car to the track. That was an intense race and we avoided two big crashes, finishing 13th. I learned a lot through that race. We have great momentum heading into Atlanta this weekend and I’m looking forward Sunday.”

Carson Hocevar, No. 77 Premier Security Solutions Camaro ZL1

“We’re hungry and ready to go run after a disappointing day at Daytona. We’re looking at this race as if it’s the first one. There’s nowhere else to go but up from last week. The whole team is ready to go, I can promise you that. We’re lucky enough to have a longtime sponsor, Premier Security Solutions, on our No. 77 Chevrolet this weekend and again next weekend in Las Vegas. Hopefully we can put on a good show for everyone.”

Daniel Suarez, No. 99 Freeway Insurance Camaro ZL1

What are your thoughts on Daytona?

“I was really happy with my race team. They had a great strategy and got us points in the Duels and then in both stages on Monday. I thought this was my best chance to win a Daytona 500. We led in the final 15 laps and it was looking good. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and when that happens there isn’t much you can do. Very proud of my race team.”

You ran second in the second race at Atlanta last year. Drivers call that track a hybrid and why are you so good at it?

“I have good cars. I have good execution from my team, and it’s a lot about being patient. It’s a lot like racing in Daytona. I think things have worked out a few times for us in Atlanta, and every time we go to a road course we are competitive. If you ask William Byron last year how many times he had a car capable of winning a race – 15, 18? – and he won six. I had a car capable of winning a race maybe three times last year. You have to have more shots than that because a winning car doesn’t mean you’re going to win the race. You still have to execute; it has to play out. If you want to win a couple of races, you have to have eight to 10 winning cars. So that is what we were lacking – consistency. One weekend we can show up to a racetrack and we were top five and the next weekend we were 20th. I feel like the 99 team is the most prepared it has been in years.”


Chevrolet NASCAR Cup Series Statistics

Manufacturers Championships:

Total (1949-2023): 42

First title for Chevrolet: 1958

Highest number of consecutive titles: 13 (2003-15)

Years Won: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2021, 2022, 2023

Drivers Championships:

Total (1949-2021): 33

First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)

Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005-11)

Most Recent: Kyle Larson (2021)

Years Won: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2020, 2021

Event Victories:

Record for total race wins in single season: 26 (2007)

2024 STATISTICS:
Wins: 1
Poles: 0
Laps Led: 62
Top-five finishes: 3
Top-10 finishes: 4

Stage wins: 1

· Chase Elliott: 1 (Daytona)

CHEVROLET IN NASCAR CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:

Total Chevrolet race wins: 852 (1949 to date)
Poles won to date: 743
Laps led to date: 249,237
Top-five finishes to date: 4,301|
Top-10 finishes to date: 8,865

Total NASCAR Cup Wins by Corporation, 1949 to Date:

       General Motors: 1,186

       Chevrolet: 852

       Pontiac: 154

       Oldsmobile: 115

       Buick: 65



       Ford: 828                                                           

       Ford: 728

       Mercury: 96

       Lincoln: 4



       Fiat Chrysler Automobiles: 467

       Dodge: 217

       Plymouth: 191

       Chrysler: 59



       Toyota: 180

About Chevrolet

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands. Chevrolet models include electric and fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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