Four Things You Need To Know: Atlanta Edition

It’s time for this week’s ”Four Things” and this week, we head to Atlanta, Georgia for the second race of the season! This week, along with our four things, we will take a look at one important take away from the Daytona 500.

Chevy in 2016, Ford in '17.

Chevy in 2016, Ford in ’17.

1: One Big Change…

One of the biggest teams in the Sprint Cup Series made a major announcement today that shocked much of the NASCAR world. Social media, fans and analysts didn’t know what to make of this bombshell or what it would mean for the 2016 season.

If you didn’t catch the big announcement, here it goes…

Stewart-Haas Racing is switching from Chevrolet to Ford starting in 2017. This major change means the end of a big alliance between SHR and NASCAR powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports. HMS supplies SHR with the chassis and engines for their teams. This alliance has been in effect since SHR’s creation in 2009.

Stewart-Haas Racing will get their engines from Roush Yates and will start building their own chassis in house.

Hendrick Motorsports released a separate statement staying they were “disappointed” in the decision made by SHR and that HMS would continue to field Chevrolet entries for the foreseeable future.

What will this announcement mean for the 2016 season? Will things change between the two racing powerhouses? I guess we will have to wait and see.

Martin Truex Jr is here to contend again this season.

Martin Truex Jr is here to contend again this season.

2: Martin Truex Jr. is one to watch in 2016.

After having quite the impressive season in 2015 and even making the Chase, Martin Truex Jr. and the single-car team of Furniture Row Racing took the NASCAR world by storm, impressing many along the way.

After Speedweeks and the Daytona 500, it was pretty clear that 2015 was just “good luck.” Truex Jr battled Denny Hamlin for the race win and while he came up short…by just a few inches…he proved that he and the No.78 team are starting off the season on the right foot.

Will we see the same from him this weekend at Atlanta? I guess we are about to find out.

Vickers Nation, your man will be back in "The Sin City."

Vickers Nation, your man will be back in “The Sin City.”

3: Vickers is OUT… for now.

After filling in for an injured Tony Stewart in the Daytona 500, Brian Vickers won’t be behind the wheel of the No.14 this weekend in Atlanta. Instead, youngster Ty Dillon will pilot the Stewart-Haas Racing entry.

The younger Dillon drove for Levine Family Racing, piloting the No. 95 Chevy in the Daytona 500. He has seen some Sprint Cup Series seat time, driving in a handful of races between 2014 and 2015.

Vickers will be back in the No. 14 for Las Vegas. No definitive return date for Tony Stewart has been set.

There were so many pit mistakes, Larry McReynolds would be one upset crew chief!

There were so many pit mistakes, Larry McReynolds would be one upset crew chief!

4: Pit road penalties might be an issue this season.

There were 12 pit road penalties during the Daytona 500 and nine of them came from teams having men over the wall too soon. Since its inception, the most penalties given on pit road during a single race were nine (Fontana, Martinsville and Las Vegas).

One of those teams that got busted for this penalty was the No. 10 of Danica Patrick.

After making her mandatory pass through penalty, Patrick and her crew chief Billy Scott talked about the penalty. Scott and his team reviewed the pit stop and didn’t see any men over the wall too soon and were confused by the penalty.

In 2015, NASCAR went to automated put road cameras to catch a majority of the pit road infractions like men over the wall too soon. Could these cameras be off? Are they giving penalties where they aren’t warranted? Having nine of the 12 total pit road penalties be because of men over the wall too soon seems a little fishy. But we can also chalk it up to teams trying to get that little extra advantage over their competition.

It was the Daytona 500 after all.

One important takeaway from the Daytona 500:

Kyle Busch is going to be a championship contender at the end of the season. He is still riding high on the fumes of his 2015 championship win and that was evident during Speedweeks. If Busch can win a Championship after coming back from a debilitating injury AND taking care of a new baby, then what can he do this season? We have nine months to find out.

Katie Copple

They say the best things are left unsaid. I say, the best things need to be put down on paper...or the internet in this case. I discovered NASCAR and the world of motorsports in college and it changed my life... and my career path. Now, when people ask me to describe myself, I tell them that I am a 20-something that has an obsession with racecars.

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