AUTO RACING: Byron and Chevy rolling; F1 is Max’s playground

All Times Eastern


Ambetter Health 400

Site: Hampton, Georgia.

Schedule: Saturday, qualifying, 11:35 a.m.; Sunday, race, 3 p.m. (FOX).

Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Race distance: 260 laps, 400 miles.

Last year: William Byron won after starting 12th.

Last race: Byron passed Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kyle Larson in overtime at Phoenix and won his second consecutive race.

Fast facts: A third Hendrick driver, Alex Bowman, leads the point standings, followed by Kevin Harvick, Ross Chastain, Byron and Larson. … Ryan Blaney finished second, followed by Tyler Reddick and Larson. … All four races have been won by a driver in a Chevrolet. … Byron’s consecutive victories have both come after he took on right side tires only on his last pit stop. … Harvick had a sizeable lead until Harrison Burton spun with 10 laps to go. Harvick finished fifth, his series record 20th consecutive top 10 finish at Phoenix.

Next race: March 26, Austin, Texas.



RAPTOR King of Tough 250

Site: Hampton, Georgia.

Schedule: Friday, qualifying, 4:35 p.m.; Saturday, race, 5 p.m. (FS1).

Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Race distance: 163 laps, 251 miles.

Last year: Noah Gragson won after starting second.

Last race: High school senior Sammy Smith earned his first career victory in his 13th career start, leading the final 52 laps at Phoenix and holding off Kyle Busch at the finish.

Fast facts: Ryan Truex finished second, followed by Sheldon Creed, Riley Herbst and Chandler Smith. … Busch was second following a final restart with 15 laps to go, but made contact with Chandler Smith on the final lap and ended up ninth. … Justin Allgaier won the race’s first two stages, then crashed on Lap 178 after contact from JR Motorsports teammate Brandon Jones and Sam Hunt Racing’s Kaz Grala.

Next race: March 25, Austin, Texas.



Fr8 208

Site: Hampton, Georgia.

Schedule: Friday, qualifying, 3:05 p.m.; Saturday, race, 2 p.m. (FS1).

Track: Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Race distance: 135 laps, 208 miles.

Last year: Corey Heim won after starting 19th.

Last race: Kyle Busch led 84 of the 134 laps and beat Zane Smith to the checkered flag by nearly five seconds at Las Vegas for his series-record 63rd victory.

Fast facts: Defending series champion Zane Smith is the only driver with two top-five finishes and leads the standings. … Ty Majeski, Christian Eckes, Grant Enfinger and Heim are the only others with two top-10 finishes through two races.

Next race: March 25. Austin, Texas.



Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia

Site: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Schedule: Friday, practice, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Saturday, practice, 9:30 a.m., and qualifying, 1 p.m.; Sunday, race, 1 p.m. (ESPN).

Track: Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

Race distance: 50 laps, 191.661 miles.

Last year: Max Verstappen won after starting fourth.

Last race: Verstappen began the defense of his back-to-back series championships by leading a 1-2 finish for Red Bull in the season-opener in Bahrain.

Fast facts: Including the final race of the 2021 season, Verstappen has won 17 of the last 25 races. … Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez finished second in the season-opener. … Seven-time series champion Lewis Hamilton is fifth in points and winless in his last 25 races.

Next race: April 2, Melbourne, Australia.



Last race: Marcus Ericsson passed Pato O’Ward with three laps remaining and prevailed in the season-opener on the streets of St. Petersburg in a race that was filled with crashes.

Next race: April 2, Fort Worth, Texas.



Last event: Mike Salinas won in Top Fuel and Matt Hagan won in Funny Car in Gainesville, Florida.

Next event: March 24-26 Chandler, Arizona.



Next events: March 17, Mechanisburg, Pennsylvania, and March 18, Abbotstown, Pennsylvania.



AP auto racing: and

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up