FORD PERFORMANCE NASCAR: ATLANTA NOTES
Brad Keselowski won last year’s Folds of Honor 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, marking his first series win at the track and Ford’s first since 2008. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series headlines a weekend tripleheader that includes Saturday races in the Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series. Here’s a look at how Ford has fared at the 1.5-mile facility.
FORD IN THE MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES AT AMS
· Ford has 31 all-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series wins at AMS.
· NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen won the Atlanta 500 three straight years (1962-64).
· Brad Keselowski (2017) and Kurt Busch (2002) have Ford wins at the track.
· Georgia native Bill Elliott is Ford’s all-time leader at AMS with five wins.
· The Wood Brothers rank second with 12 series wins at AMS.
FORD IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT AMS
· Ford has 9 NASCAR XFINITY Series wins at AMS, all but one by Roush Fenway Racing.
· The last Ford victory came in 2012 by Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
· Jeff Gordon won his first series race, and the first one ever held at AMS, with Ford in 1992.
· Kevin Harvick leads all drivers with four series wins.
· Mark Martin has the most Ford wins with three while Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards have two each.
FORD IN THE CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES AT AMS
· Ford is still looking for its first series win at AMS.
· Matt Crafton has one win (2015) and leads all drivers with nine career Top-10 finishes.
· Ford has 95 all-time series victories.
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
When Carl Edwards beat Jimmie Johnson to the finish line by 2.684 seconds in 2008, it marked his third at the track and first since sweeping both events in 2005. 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.
Brad Keselowski took advantage of a pit road speeding penalty by Kevin Harvick to pull away from the field in the final 14 laps to win the Folds of Honor 400 and snap a 10-race Ford Performance draught in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The win was Keselowski’s first at AMS, but it didn’t look likely because Harvick dominated the afternoon, winning the first two stages in convincing fashion. He appeared headed to victory, but on his final stop he was hit with a speeding penalty on pit road and didn’t have enough time to recover. That proved to be a major storyline on the day as NASCAR handed out a total of 11 speeding penalties.
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
2017 – Brad Keselowski
FORD’S ATLANTA XFINITY WINNERS
1992 – Jeff Gordon
1997 – Mark Martin
1998 – Mark Martin
2000 – Mark Martin
2004 – Matt Kenseth
2005 – Carl Edwards
2008 – Matt Kenseth
2011 – Carl Edwards
2012 – Ricky Stenhouse Jr.