NSCS: Hendrick Motorsports Media Advance: Atlanta

ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY (1.54-MILE OVAL)
LOCATION: HAMPTON, GEORGIA
EVENT: NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (RACE 2 OF 36)
TUNE IN: 1 P.M. ET, SUNDAY, FEB. 28 (FOX/PRN/SIRIUSXM)
No. 5 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS / Kasey Kahne
Driver Kasey Kahne   Hometown Enumclaw, Washington
Age 35                        Resides Mooresville, North Carolina
2016 Season
13th in standings
1 start
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led
Career
433 starts
17 wins
27 pole positions
86 top-five finishes
156 top-10 finishes
4,607 laps led
Track Career
19 starts
3 wins
2 pole positions
7 top-five finishes
9 top-10 finishes
353 laps led
KAHNE AT ATLANTA: This weekend, Kasey Kahne — driver of the No. 5 Panasonic Toughbook Chevrolet SS — returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he has three wins in the Sprint Cup Series. His most recent win was in August 2014, which secured his spot in the season’s Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. In just his fifth start at the 1.54-mile speedway, Kahne swept the March 2006 weekend by winning the pole award and the 500-mile race. Statistically, intermediate tracks bode well for Kahne, with eight of his 17 wins coming at a 1.5-mile speedway.
PHYSICALLY FIT: Last week an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal’s Life and Health section on Kahne’s workout regimen. “The Daytona 500 Tuneup: How Kasey Kahne Stays Sharp in Race Conditions” was written by Jen Murphy. Kahne continues a vigorous workout routine each week with longtime trainer Ryan Von Rueden to have peak performance inside the race car.
FAST LAPS: According to NASCAR’s loop data, Kahne ranks sixth among all active NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers in fastest laps run at Atlanta with 262 laps. The only Hendrick Motorsports teammate with more fast laps is Jimmie Johnson, who ranks second overall with 340.
NEW ART: The Farmers Racing Art Series continues for the second year in 2016, with Farmers Insurance giving fans the chance to design Kahne’s autograph card. After looking through 80 entries, Kyle Sykes’ design was selected and debuted at Daytona International Speedway for the Daytona 500. Sykes, a Waukesha, Wisconsin, native is the self-proclaimed “biggest fan and supporter of Hendrick Motorsports and Kasey Kahne.” He has a degree from Carroll University in graphic design and marketing.
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No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS / Chase Elliott
Driver Chase Elliott   Hometown Dawsonville, Georgia
Age 20                      Resides Dawsonville, Georgia
2016 Season
36th in standings
1 start
0 wins
1 pole position
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
3 laps led
Career
6 starts
0 wins
1 pole position
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
3 laps led
Track Career
0 starts
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
0 laps led
Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS, will visit the media center at Atlanta Motor Speedway at 9:45 a.m. local time on Friday.
NAPA AUTO PARTS ON THE NO. 24 CHEVROLET SS: NAPA AUTO PARTS will be the primary partner onboard Rookie of the Year contender Chase Elliott’s No. 24 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway and will be the primary sponsor on the car for 22 additional Sprint Cup Series races this year.
HOMETOWN HERO: Elliott — a Dawsonville, Georgia, native — will compete for the first time at his home track of Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this weekend. The two-time Georgia Racing Hall of Fame Driver of the Year (2013, 2014) will make his debut at the track in the No. 24 Chevrolet with NAPA AUTO PARTS, an Atlanta, Georgia-based company, adorning the hood. Elliott grew up just one hour away from NAPA AUTO PARTS headquarters and a mere 90 miles from the high-profile speedway.
POLE-WINNING MILESTONE: On Sunday, Feb. 14, Elliott became the youngest Daytona 500 pole-winner of all time at the age of 20 years, 2 months and 17 days after running 196.314 mph during his final qualifying lap. It became Hendrick Motorsports’ 10th Daytona 500 pole – the series’ most – as well as Chevrolet’s 24th Daytona 500 pole award – also the series’ most. The Elliotts are now the fourth father-son duo to win the Daytona 500 pole behind the Petty, Allison and Earnhardt duos.
PIT PASS: Atlanta Motor Speedway is the home track for No. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet SS team front-tire carrier Dion Williams. Williams hails from Stone Mountain, Georgia, located approximately 40 miles northeast of the speedway. The once-aspiring football player graduated from Atlanta’s Lakeside High School where he earned all-state football honors. He went on to play as an inside linebacker for Wake Forest University and in 2004, after graduating with a communications degree, he was signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Vikings. Shortly thereafter, Williams began working in NASCAR and later joined Hendrick Motorsports. He has now been a part of the organization’s pit crew team for eight years. This weekend, Williams will be putting his athleticism and training to the test in front of a hometown crowd.
ATLANTA TRACK STATS: Elliott earned his first-career NASCAR XFINITY Series pole position at Atlanta in August 2014 running 180.4 mph. In the race, he led 36 laps en route to a fifth-place finish. In the 2015 NXS event, Elliott raced his way up four positions to continue his fifth-place streak at the 1.54-mile oval.
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No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS / Jimmie Johnson
Driver Jimmie Johnson   Hometown El Cajon, California
Age 40                             Resides Charlotte, North Carolina
2016 Season
16th in standings
1 start
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
18 laps led
Career
508 starts
75 wins
34 pole positions
207 top-five finishes
314 top-10 finishes
17,727 laps led
Track Career
24 starts
4 wins
0 pole positions
13 top-five finishes
15 top-10 finishes
532 laps led
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, will visit the media center at Atlanta Motor Speedway at 10 a.m. local time on Friday.
DEFENDING RACE-WINNER: Last year at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Jimmie Johnson started the event from the 37th position but swiftly made his way through the field. He led 92 of the 325 laps en route to his 71st career win holding off a late charge from Kevin Harvick. It was Johnson’s fourth win at the track.
VEGAS TIRE TEST: The No. 48 Lowe’s team completed a Goodyear tire test in January at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus spent two days testing tires at the 1.5-mile track, which is the same length as Atlanta Motor Speedway.
ALL-TIME ON 1.5 MILERS: Johnson currently holds the record for all-time wins on 1.5-mile tracks. He has earned 24 victories, which includes seven at Charlotte Motor Speedway, six at Texas Motor Speedway, four at both Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway and three at Kansas Speedway.
WIN TO TIE: Johnson’s five wins last season — including the final one at Texas Motor Speedway — propelled him within one race of tying Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s 76 career wins. Johnson’s 75 are currently eighth all-time. One more win would tie him with Earnhardt for seventh behind Cale Yarborough’s 83 wins in sixth place. The all-time wins leader is Richard Petty with 200.
SUPERCROSS EVENT: As he started racing on two wheels at age 5, it’s no surprise that Johnson is an avid fan of Supercross racing and many of its elite athletes. The Supercross circuit visits Atlanta this weekend, and Johnson will attend the event and be incorporated into the show, which airs live on FOX Sports 1 at 7 p.m. ET Saturday.
JIMMIE JOHNSON WELLNESS CHALLENGE RETURNS: Registration is open for the 2016 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Wellness Challenge. Register now for early-bird pricing and register for all three events to receive a reduced rate. The first event is May 22, the Jimmie Johnson Foundation 5K in Huntersville, North Carolina. Log on to www.jjfwellnesschallenge.org for more details.
JIMMIE JOHNSON RACING WINS NASCAR AWARD: During Speedweeks at Daytona, Johnson was awarded the 2015 Best Youth Marketing Initiative for the Jimmie Johnson Family Ticket Package by NASCAR. Last season Johnson worked with 14 tracks to carry out 17 events and saw over 5,000 participants – 51 percent of which were children. Johnson’s goal with the program is to help make it affordable and enjoyable for families to attend races. Johnson donated his time to visit with the families and  incorporated a NASA STEM-based learning curriculum and Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinics to enhance the race experience for kids and their families.
JJ TICKET PACKAGES RETURN: The Jimmie Johnson Family Ticket Packages will return in 2016, kicking off the year at Atlanta. Packages provide families with reduced ticket prices to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, as well as an event on race morning that provides engaging NASA STEM-focused “Rockets to Racecars” activities for kids and an appearance by Johnson. In 2016, three tracks (Texas Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway and Pocono Raceway) will be part of a beta program to incorporate Rockets to Racecars curriculum in local schools year-round, culminating with an at-track event for teachers and students during NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race day.
HOMETOWN CONNECTION: No. 48 team jackman Andrew Childers is from Tucker, Georgia, which is roughly 45 miles from Atlanta Motor Speedway. Childers, who became the jackman on the No. 48 team in 2014, played football for Samford University.
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No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS / Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.   Hometown Kannapolis, North Carolina
Age 41                                Resides Mooresville, North Carolina
2016 Season
35th in standings
1 start
0 wins
0 pole positions
0 top-five finishes
0 top-10 finishes
15 laps led
Career
578 starts
26 wins
13 pole positions
143 top-five finishes
246 top-10 finishes
8,149 laps led
Track Career
28 starts
1 win
2 pole positions
9 top-five finishes
13 top-10 finishes
633 laps led
ATLANTA VICTOR: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has one win at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which came in 2004. The Kannapolis, North Carolina, native led 55 of 325 laps, including the final 16 laps of the event, en route to victory.
TWO-TIME POLE-SITTER: Earnhardt has earned two poles at Atlanta, one in 2001 and the other in 2010. Atlanta is one of three tracks where the 41-year-old has multiple poles. He also has earned two poles at both Texas Motor Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.
NEW RULES: This weekend’s event at Atlanta will be the debut of the new base rules package that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will run on non-superspeedway tracks in 2016. The 2016 package is based off of the low-downforce package that was used during the Cup events at Kentucky Speedway and Darlington Raceway in 2015. Earnhardt finished 21st and eighth, respectively, in those events.
TWO NEW NATIONWIDE ADS REVEALED: Nationwide Insurance debuted two of its new 2016 ad spots during the Daytona 500 on Feb. 21 featuring “Boss Man Dale” entitled “Friend Request” and “Janet’s Baby.” The new ads can be viewed on Nationwide’s YouTube channel and behind-the-scenes footage of the commercial shoot can be found here. The ads will be refreshed throughout the NASCAR season.
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Hendrick Motorsports
HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS AT ATLANTA: Hendrick Motorsports has 13 wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the most recent of which came last season thanks to Johnson. The organization has earned 55 top-five finishes, 84 top-10s and five pole positions at the Georgia track.
SIX DRIVERS FIND VICTORY LANE AT ATLANTA: Car owner Rick Hendrick’s first Atlanta Motor Speedway Sprint Cup win came on March 19, 1989, with driver Darrell Waltrip. The organization has posted Atlanta victories with six different drivers: Waltrip, Ken Schrader (1991), Jeff Gordon (five wins), Jerry Nadeau (2000), Johnson (four wins) and Kahne (2014).
ORGANIZATION STATS: To date, Hendrick Motorsports has totals of 240 victories, 206 pole positions, 980 top-five finishes and 1,637 top-10 finishes in Sprint Cup competition. Its teams have led 65,053 laps since 1984.
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QUOTABLE /
“Atlanta is one of the tracks that I really enjoy. It has been one of my favorite track for years and still is, so I’m looking forward to Atlanta early in the season. I’m hoping that it’s clear and we don’t have rain or snow or anything like that. I think that it will be a good one to get some momentum rolling at. We’ve run great there a lot of times over the seasons and I have three wins and a few top-five finishes, so it has been one of my better racetracks. It’s a nice place to get going on our more traditional style of racetracks.”
Kasey Kahne on racing at Atlanta
“It’s always been a special place to me. My dad and I have done a lot of racing there on the front stretch, whether it be a bandolero or Legends car. It’s odd, I guess, to think about being part of this Sprint Cup weekend. I can remember racing the Legends when the Cup cars were in town. I’m excited to be part of the show this year and hopefully put on a good one for the fans. For us and a lot of guys, Atlanta is like that Week 1 for our season because we’re going to see racetracks like this more so as we go. I’m excited to get there. It’s my home track and is as close to home as I’m going to get on the NASCAR circuit, so I think that’s special.”
Chase Elliott on racing at Atlanta
“To say I’m looking forward to Atlanta this weekend is an understatement. Last year we started so deep in the field because we had a terrible qualifying run. It wasn’t too fun but we had such a fast Lowe’s Chevrolet that we made our way through the field and got the track position we needed. Making the Chase the second race into the year was great because we just could go out there and win – the pressure was off. We didn’t have the run we wanted in Daytona, handling was an issue on race day. We had a great test in Vegas with a fast car so I’m ready to roll at Atlanta.”
Jimmie Johnson on racing at Atlanta
“I’m looking forward to Atlanta. I think the whole series is looking forward to going to Vegas, Atlanta and all of those places with this new package. It’s going to be a whole new ballgame. Everybody is wondering where everybody is after the offseason. Every year you kind of have to get another measure of your competition because everybody kind of gets a little better in the offseason, so we’ll see how that all works out once we get to the next couple of tracks. Daytona Speedweeks has always been a little bit different – it’s not a true measuring stick of what the rest of the season might look like or who might be the dominant team.”
Dale Earnhardt Jr. on racing at Atlanta
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TRENDING /
There’s nothing like the #DAYTONA500. On to Atlanta, I can’t wait.
@JimmieJohnson via Twitter