Ragan qualifies 17th in Joe Gibbs Racing debut

HAMPTON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – More than a dozen cars failed to turn a lap in Friday’s knockout qualifying session for Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

A total of 13 drivers, including former champions Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth failed to make it through inspection in time to turn a lap in the first round.

Unadilla’s David Ragan, filling in for the injured Kyle Busch, did make it on track. He advanced past the first round but not the second, failing to be among the top 12 who made it to the final round. He’ll start 17th in the No. 18 Crispy M&M’s Toyota Camry.

“Our car was better than that,” Ragan says. “Just missed it on that adjustment a little bit. It’s one of those things. This is the best of the best. If you miss it just a little here or just a little there, you pay for it. That’s at a good spot. It’s in the front half of the field. We can pass some cars on Sunday.”

Busch broke his right leg and left foot in a NASCAR XFINITY Series crash last weekend at Daytona. Ragan is expected to continue filling in until Busch returns.

“The M&M’s Toyota Camry–I think that’s certainly one of the premier cars in our sport,” Ragan says. “I’m grateful for the opportunity. CXS and our Play It Safe Campaign, along with Front Row Motorsports, they worked hard and were very creative to allow me to come over and do this. I think it’s going to be a fun few weeks.”

When Busch returns, Ragan will take back over his No. 34 Ford for Front Row Motorsports. Joe Nemechek is driving that car in the meantime.

Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano ran the fastest lap in the final round of qualifying Friday. He will lead the field to the green flag Sunday just after 1 p.m.

Doubleheader on Saturday

Dawsonville native and defending NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Chase Elliott will go for his first series win at his home track on Saturday. The green flag drops on the Hisense 250 at 2 p.m. 

The XFINITY race will be followed by the Camping World Truck Series’ Hyundai Construction Equipment 200.

Categories: Dooly County, Motorsports, Regional Sports, Sports

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