AMS' Kobalt Tools 500 News and Notes -- March 4, 2010 U.S. Gold Medal Bobsled Team To Appear at Kobalt Tools 500 The gold-medal winning U.S. four-man bobsled team and bronze-medal winning women's two-man team will attend the...
AMS' Kobalt Tools 500 News and Notes -- March 4, 2010
U.S. Gold Medal Bobsled Team To Appear at Kobalt Tools 500
The gold-medal winning U.S. four-man bobsled team and bronze-medal winning women's two-man team will attend the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The men's team, the first American bobsled group to win gold since the 1948 Winter Olympics, will attend the Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 7 and will cheer on Geoffrey Bodine in the E-Z-GO 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Saturday, March 6.
Bodine, the co-owner and founder of Bo-Dyn Bobsleds who produces the American-used bobsleds, will race in a Bo-Dyn Bobsled paint scheme featuring the names of the U.S. Olympic bobsled medalists.
The truck will also feature the names of the bronze-medal winning women's two-man team, who will also be in attendance at the Kobalt Tools 500. Elana Meyers, the brakeman for the women's team, is a Georgia native born in Douglasville.
Bodine's interest in bobsledding came to a boil during the 1992 Winter Olympics and, after learning the U.S. was struggling using antiquated equipment produced overseas, he co-founded Bo-Dyn Bobsleds, the company that produced the medal-winning bobsleds used in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Using his race-engineering background, Bodine partnered with Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics to produce medal-winning vehicles, a partnership culminating with Gold in Vancouver.
The U.S. Olympic bobsled medalists who will attend the Kobalt Tools 500 race weekend include: Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah); Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas); Steve Mesler (Buffalo, N.Y.); Curt Tomasevicz (Shebly, Neb.); Erin Pac (Farmington, Conn.); and Elana Meyers (Douglasville, Ga.).
Upstart Keselowski Could Be Sleeper Pick
While NASCAR Sprint Cup Series upstart Brad Keselowski will be making his first Sprint Cup Series start at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the Kobalt Tools 500, the 26-year old could be poised for his first strong Sprint Cup Series finish.
Keselowski has struggled in his first three Sprint Cup Series events in the 2010 season, posting consecutive finishes in the 20s after finishing 36th in Daytona. However, the Penske driver has had remarkable success at Atlanta in three Nationwide Series starts, with a top-five finish and two top-10s.
"I've always enjoyed racing at Atlanta in the Nationwide Series and I'm excited to make my first Cup Series start there this weekend," said Keselowski, who will drive the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger. "The place is just a lot of fun. You can run all over the track, but it seems to me that you need to run the bottom to be the most successful. The track is abrasive on tires, so you can't abuse them early in a run. You have to race the track so to speak."
In addition to his Nationwide success in Atlanta, Penske teammate Kurt Busch dominated the Kobalt Tools 500 in 2009, begging the question will Keselowski's team use knowledge from Busch's team to get his first full-season Sprint Cup campaign back on track.
And Kasey Kahne followed up Busch's Spring win at Atlanta by winning the fall's Pep Boys Auto 500, giving Dodge their first season sweep in Atlanta and perhaps giving Keselowski's Dodge entry greater hope coming to Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Randy LaJoie's Son to Appear in Modified 150 on Friday
Corey LaJoie, the son of two-time Nationwide Series champion Randy LaJoie, will compete in the Modified 150 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Friday, March 5.
LaJoie will pilot the No. 19 Hill Enterprises/La Bleu Water/Hawke Performance Pontiac in the season-opening event for the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour on Atlanta Motor Speedway's quarter-mile "Thunder Ring." The race will be the 18-year old's debut in the Southern Modified Tour and the team plans to run a limited schedule in 2010.
The 150-lap race will be held immediately following the conclusion of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying at 6:10 p.m. during Georgia Power Qualifying Night.
Quotable and Notable Driver Quotes on AMS and the Kobalt Tools 500
As NASCAR's best drivers descend upon Atlanta Motor Speedway for this weekend's Kobalt Tools 500, glowing comments emerge about what is widely regarded as one of the most popular racing facilities on the circuit.
Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 33 Cheerios Chevrolet Impala:
"[Drivers with dirt track experience do well at Atlanta] because, that's what you're doing. You're dirt tracking at 200 miles per hour at a big race track. You have to get up on the wheel to make things happen, but hold onto the car and don't let it get out from underneath you. Most of the time, you're really loose as the back end of the car is trying to come out from underneath you."
Jeff Burton, driver of the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet Impala:
"Atlanta is one of my favorite racetracks. I really enjoy going there ... it's a great challenge. The track gets so slick during the race and becomes a blast to drive on. You have to get up on the wheel and drive the car. It's so much fun. As a race car driver, that's the kind of racing you hope for."
Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 M&M's Toyota Camry:
"Atlanta definitely doesn't have much grip, but I still seem to like it. There are so many lines. You can run anywhere on the track, and I love that. Coming off turn two, if you're running the low line and start to slide up, you have a tendency to get sideways. But, otherwise, it's a really fun track. It's really a driver's track because, when you get about 40 laps on your tires, you really start to slide around and that can be a handful."
Kevin Conway, driver of the No. 37 ExtenZe Ford Fusion:
"We go to a lot of tracks, but you rarely ever hear of anyone complain about Atlanta and the racing there. It's one of the coolest tracks that we go to. It's a very, very fast, high-banked, mile-and-half oval that is challenging ... The racing groove is really wide because of the racing surface. It's a place where you can race up top, run on the bottom or race in the middle ... It's a great place to race if you like driving these cars and being up on the wheel all day. With fresh tires, this track is all about speed. It's one of the fastest tracks on the circuit. Some of our corner speeds will be over 200 miles per hour in qualifying."
Carl Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Scotts Ford Fusion:
"I can't wait to go to Atlanta Motor Speedway. It's in Aflac's backyard and we are running a special Scotts paint scheme to commemorate my first NASCAR Sprint Cup win there. The track is great. It's multi-grooved, fast, fun and has a lot of history. The fans there are awesome."
Bill Elliott, Georgia native, six-time AMS winner, and driver of the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion:
"The track has a lot of character. The asphalt's getting some age on it, and you can run the top, or the middle or the bottom groove. That makes for a good race for the fans, and for the teams and drivers it gives us the ability to do a lot of different stuff."
David Gilliland, driver of the No. 38 Charter Air/Taco Bell Ford Fusion:
"This track is breathtaking. It's that fast, especially qualifying at night when the track cools down. There is no other track that gains that much grip at night. It's incredible and the speeds are, too. You have to take that into consideration when you are thinking about qualifying on Friday."
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the No. 48 Lowe's/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet Impala:
"Atlanta really reminds me of Darlington where you just have to be very conscious of what end of the race car is taking the abuse or what tire is slipping and sliding too much. Every time you slide that tire, you're just taking speed out of the car and especially off the tail end of the run. You're just trying to be very aware of what tires work and looking for ways to get around that, the balance and the load between all four tires. When you're able to do that, your car typically drives very comfortable and you're going to need that for 500 miles at Atlanta."
Matt Kenseth, driver of the No. 17 Valvoline Ford Fusion:
"Atlanta is a track where you not only race your competitors, but you race the track. It's really high-banked and fast. You start off fast and the track gets slick, so you're always looking for a different groove and for more grip. The cars are tougher to drive and they move around a lot more than the old cars used to, so you want to make sure that your car isn't too loose in the turns. When the track gets slick, you've got to have a good-handling car, so that you can change your points and get into the corners. I always have a lot of fun racing at Atlanta, because it is always a challenge."
Mark Martin, driver of the No. 5 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet Impala:
"Atlanta has always been one of my favorite racetracks. The very first time I came here, I just felt good. It has the characteristics of a short track, but on a much larger level."
David Ragan, Georgia native and driver of the No. 6 UPS Ford Fusion:
"I'm pretty pumped up to be going back to my hometown track. I love going to Atlanta, it's close to home and the track is fun to race at. It's a fast track with multiple grooves, which lets us choose different lines around the track."