Wednesday April 17th, 2024 9:10AM

How important is the pole position at AMS?

By AccessWDUN Staff

When the 2024 schedule was released late last year, the spring Atlanta race was moved to the season's second race.

Previously, the historic 1.54-mile track served as the follow-up event to the season-opening DAYTONA 500 from 2015-2019, but this is the first time the track has hosted the second race of the season since being reconfigured to run the superspeedway package on the cars. In total, Atlanta Motor Speedway has occupied 30 different positions on the NASCAR Cup schedule since joining the series in 1960.

From 1960 – 2010, Atlanta Motor Speedway hosted multiple NASCAR Cup Series races each season; starting in 2011, the series only visited Atlanta once a year (2011-2020). The 2021 season was the first time since 2010 that the series visited the facility more than once a year. Also, from 1987 to 2000, Atlanta Motor Speedway held the final championship race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

Originally called Atlanta International Raceway, the track was then a 1.5-mile paved speedway, and it hosted its first NASCAR Cup Series race on July 31, 1960. The inaugural Cup race was a 300-mile/200-lap event that had 45 competitors and was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Fireball Roberts from the pole position in a 1960 Pontiac. Cotton Owens led the most laps that day (52), but Roberts took the lead with just 13 to go to grab the victory.

Pole starting position has its benefits in Atlanta

In total, there have been 119 NASCAR Cup races at Atlanta Motor Speedway since the first race there in 1960, and 16 of the 119 events have been won from the pole or first starting position – tied with the fifth starting spot as the most proficient starting positions on the grid with 16 wins each (13.45%).

Last season, Team Penske’s Joey Logano won the spring NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway from the pole position, becoming the 15th driver to accomplish the feat. This weekend, 53 drivers have won at least one pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Cup Series, and 26 drivers have posted multiple poles at the 1.54-mile track. Five of the 53 NASCAR Cup Series Atlanta Motor Speedway pole winners are entered this weekend.

Active Atlanta pole winners
Joey Logano, 2023, 2015
Kyle Busch, 2018
Ricky Stenhouse Jr, 2013
Denny Hamlin, 2010
Martin Truex Jr, 2009

WDUN will have live coverage of the Xfinity Series race beginning at 4:30 on Saturday and continue coverage on Sunday with the AmBetter Health 400 from Atlanta Motor Speedway at 2 p.m. You can hear all the action on AM 550 & FM 102.9 or stream it here.

NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this story. 

  • Associated Categories: NASCAR News, NASCAR Cup
  • Associated Tags: nascar, Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR Cup Series
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