|Race 25 of 36 in the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series|
|Date||August 31, 2014|
Atlanta Motor Speedway|
Permanent racing facility|
1.54 mi (2.48 km)
|Distance||335 laps, 515.9 mi (830.8 km)|
|Scheduled Distance||325 laps, 500.5 mi (805.476 km)|
|Weather||Partly cloudy with a temperature of 84 °F (29 °C); wind out of the west at 3 miles per hour (4.8 km/h)|
|Average speed||131.512 mph (211.648 km/h)|
|Most laps led|
|Driver||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing|
|No. 5||Kasey Kahne||Hendrick Motorsports|
|Television in the United States|
|Network||ESPN & PRN|
Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree (Television)|
Doug Rice and Mark Garrow (Booth)
Rob Albright (1 & 2) and Doug Turnball (3 & 4) (Turns) (Radio)
5.21 Million viewers
The 2014 Oral-B USA 500 was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race that was held on August 31, 2014, at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. Contested over 335 laps on the 1.54 mi (2.48 km) quad-oval, it was the 25th race of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Kasey Kahne of Hendrick Motorsports won the race, his first win of the season. Matt Kenseth finished second, while Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five. The top rookies of the race were Kyle Larson (8th), Michael Annett (21st), and Austin Dillon (24th).
Previous week's race
Joey Logano took the lead with 45 laps to go and had to hold off a late race charge by Team Penske teammate Brad Keselowski to score his third win of the 2014 season, at the Irwin Tools Night Race. Logano described the result as "awesome", and also reflected on his personal best 2014 campaign. Keselowski praised Logano's performance, stating that "he ran a great race" while his car "was just about equal to Joey's but he just had better track position than on us".
The venue, Atlanta Motor Speedway, is a four-turn quad-oval track that is 1.54 miles (2.48 km) long. The track's turns are banked at twenty-four degrees, while the 2,332-foot (711 m) front stretch, the location of the finish line, and the 1,800-foot (550 m) back stretch are banked at five. The track's racing surface width varies from 55 feet to 60 feet. The defending race winner from 2013 was Kyle Busch.
Tony Stewart's status had been undecided going into the race. "It's just an emotional roller coaster all week, you know what I mean?" Greg Zipadelli, vice president of competition at Stewart-Haas Racing, stated after the previous weekend's race at Bristol Motor Speedway. "It is what it is. We do the best we can with what we've got right now. We'll keep praying, keep our fingers crossed that we get the boss back sooner rather than later." On Thursday, it was announced by NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O'Donnell, that Stewart would return to racing at Atlanta. O'Donnell added that NASCAR had "remained in constant contact with his race team and we will stay very close to this situation as Stewart returns to competition".
On Friday, Stewart spoke publicly for the first time since the events of August 9 at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York. Stewart described the situation as "one of the toughest tragedies I've ever had to deal with, both professionally and personally. It will affect my life forever". He said he reached out to the Ward family and said "I want them to know I'm thinking about them and praying for them." Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Brett Frood said "for Tony, it's all about the healing process. That's why he's in the car," when asked why Stewart decided to return while the investigation into Ward's death remained open. "I am not going to comment on the incident itself. It was a tragic accident." Stewart declined to answer any questions about the incident due to the ongoing investigation.
Later, NASCAR President Mike Helton spoke about Stewart and a waiver that he would receive, if he won at Atlanta or the following weekend at Richmond. With the waiver, Stewart would be eligible to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup. While Stewart had not attempted to qualify the last two races and, therefore, would have been ineligible, NASCAR had the ability to grant an exemption to a driver for "unique circumstances". "We made our decisions based on the circumstances we've got currently," Helton said. "And I think most everyone in this room understands at NASCAR, our effort, our scope of responsibility and authority is limited to the NASCAR community. We take the current circumstances that we are dealt with and make what we hope to be the best absolute conclusion. That's what we're talking about today, is the current set of circumstances and our reaction to them."
Reaction to the waiver was mostly positive from fellow drivers. "I'm happy to know if I was out of the car for some reason that I'd get a chance to get back in the Chase," Brian Vickers said. "There's a lot of circumstances that I don't know exactly how they'd handle them. Obviously they've set a precedent here with Tony. One day I'd like to have kids. Does that mean I get to be at the hospital with my wife if she's having our first child even if it means missing a race but I can still make the Chase?" "I think the whole intent of eligibility for the Chase is so that somebody doesn't go take a vacation after winning a few races," Jeff Gordon said. "(NASCAR) wants the teams and the drivers that have earned their way in it. I believe if they win a race they should be in it."
The entry list for the Oral-B USA 500 was released on Monday, August 25, 2014 at 2:08 p.m. Eastern time. Forty-four drivers were entered for the race.
Carl Edwards was the fastest in the first practice session with a time of 28.747 and a speed of 192.855 mph (310.370 km/h). Tony Stewart, who sat out the last three races, was tenth with a time of 29.234 and a speed of 189.642 mph (305.199 km/h).
|1||99||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||28.747||192.855|
|2||31||Ryan Newman||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||28.931||191.628|
|3||9||Marcos Ambrose||Richard Petty Motorsports||Ford||28.963||191.417|
|Official first practice results|
Kevin Harvick won the pole with a time of 29.118 and a speed of 190.398 mph (306.416 km/h). Harvick felt that his car did not change much during qualifying, but felt that he "messed the first round up really bad trying to do something that I wasn't doing in practice". Brad Keselowski joined Harvick on the front row, stating that his qualifying run – 0.052 seconds off Harvick's pole time – was his best since he started competing at Atlanta, praising his team's work in the process. In his first Sprint Cup qualifying session, Nationwide Series regular Ty Dillon qualified in 29th position. Dillon described the situation as "touch to come in...and expect a great qualifying effort", before stating that "it was a lot of fun going out there and qualifying with the big guys". 44 drivers contested qualifying, with Michael McDowell failing to qualify.
|1||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||29.442||29.115||29.118|
|2||2||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske||Ford||29.181||29.150||29.170|
|3||42||Kyle Larson (R)||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||29.189||29.201||29.197|
|4||31||Ryan Newman||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||29.487||29.247||29.272|
|5||20||Matt Kenseth||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||29.026||29.044||29.334|
|6||78||Martin Truex, Jr.||Furniture Row Racing||Chevrolet||29.442||29.280||29.346|
|7||43||Aric Almirola||Richard Petty Motorsports||Ford||28.984||29.266||29.391|
|8||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||29.173||29.277||29.409|
|9||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||29.432||29.221||29.419|
|10||5||Kasey Kahne||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||29.377||29.256||29.440|
|11||99||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||29.204||29.222||29.480|
|12||14||Tony Stewart||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||29.447||29.246||29.504|
|13||3||Austin Dillon (R)||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||29.468||29.308||—|
|14||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||29.450||29.318||—|
|15||1||Jamie McMurray||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||29.436||29.358||—|
|16||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||29.304||29.363||—|
|17||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||29.428||29.389||—|
|19||55||Brian Vickers||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||29.309||29.422||—|
|20||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||29.380||29.509||—|
|21||15||Clint Bowyer||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||29.290||29.536||—|
|22||41||Kurt Busch||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||29.487||29.590||—|
|23||47||A. J. Allmendinger||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||29.452||29.604||—|
|24||13||Casey Mears||Germain Racing||Chevrolet||29.469||29.655||—|
|25||7||Michael Annett (R)||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Chevrolet||29.489||—||—|
|26||17||Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||29.505||—||—|
|27||10||Danica Patrick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||29.529||—||—|
|28||37||Mike Bliss||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Chevrolet||29.571||—||—|
|29||33||Ty Dillon||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||29.595||—||—|
|30||23||Alex Bowman (R)||BK Racing||Toyota||29.597||—||—|
|31||51||Justin Allgaier (R)||HScott Motorsports||Chevrolet||29.665||—||—|
|32||9||Marcos Ambrose||Richard Petty Motorsports||Ford||29.704||—||—|
|33||27||Paul Menard||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||29.808||—||—|
|34||77||Joe Nemechek||Randy Humphrey Racing||Ford||29.816||—||—|
|35||66||Brett Moffitt||Identity Ventures Racing||Toyota||29.833||—||—|
|36||98||Josh Wise||Phil Parsons Racing||Chevrolet||29.844||—||—|
|37||38||David Gilliland||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||29.893||—||—|
|38||34||David Ragan||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||29.998||—||—|
|39||83||Ryan Truex (R)||BK Racing||Toyota||30.022||—||—|
|40||26||Cole Whitt (R)||BK Racing||Toyota||30.032||—||—|
|41||32||J. J. Yeley||Go FAS Racing||Ford||30.209||—||—|
|42||40||Landon Cassill||Hillman-Circle Sport LLC||Chevrolet||30.284||—||—|
|43||36||Reed Sorenson||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Chevrolet||30.321||—||—|
Did Not Qualify
|44||95||Michael McDowell||Leavine Family Racing||Ford||30.025||—||—|
|Official qualifying results|
|1||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||29.279||189.351|
|2||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||29.438||188.328|
|3||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||29.514||187.843|
|Official second practice results|
|1||20||Matt Kenseth||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||29.450||188.251|
|2||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||29.510||187.869|
|3||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||29.629||187.114|
|Official final practice results|
The race was scheduled to begin at 7:46 PM Eastern time but started around five minutes later when Kevin Harvick led the field to the green flag. Brad Keselowski, who started second, spun the tires on the initial start and fell back to fifth. Harvick reported seeing a cat run across the race track in turn 3 on lap 14; it turned out to actually be a squirrel, while Jimmie Johnson had black strip-like objects stuck to the hood pins of his grill. The caution flew for the first time on lap 38 for debris; NASCAR called Carl Edwards down to pit road to replace a faulty transponder, but he was allowed to retake his spot in 5th place. The race restarted on lap 45, and ran under green flag conditions until the caution flew for the second time on lap 78, after Jeff Gordon's car blew a tire and forced him into the wall in turn 3. Denny Hamlin took the lead from Harvick during the pit stops.
The race restarted on lap 85, with Harvick and Hamlin dueling for the lead, before Hamlin was able to take it eventually on lap 86, holding Harvick all the way until lap 108. The caution flew for the third time on lap 117 after Ryan Truex spun through the grass on the front stretch. Hamlin retook the lead during the pit stop cycle, and led the field to the restart on lap 122. Tony Stewart made contact with the wall exiting turn 2 on the restart, while at the front, Matt Kenseth took the lead on lap 123. This pass for the lead occurred just before the caution flag flew again after Marcos Ambrose blew an engine. The race restarted on lap 135, and Kurt Busch took the lead from Kenseth on lap 136. Kenseth retook the lead on lap 158, before Harvick made his way back to the front, on lap 165.
Brad Keselowski took the lead as Harvick made his stop. Tony Stewart brought out the fifth caution on lap 172 after he hit the wall in turn 2. Stewart's crew chief Chad Johnston stated that Stewart "got off to a good start", but also stated that it was good to have his driver back in the car. Matt Kenseth made his stop before the caution and reassumed the lead for the restart on lap 180. Harvick retook the lead on lap 183, and held the lead for the remainder of the stint, before the race's sixth caution on lap 209, due to some debris falling off the car of Kasey Kahne. Kenseth retook the lead during the pit stops, and held the lead at the restart on lap 215. Harvick retook the lead with 98 laps to go, before giving up the lead to pit with 67 laps to go.
Debris on the backstretch helped Harvick's cause however; it brought out the seventh caution of the race. Hamlin assumed the lead under caution, before Harvick cycled back through to the lead once Hamlin had made his next pit stop of the race. The race restarted with 62 laps to go. Keselowski brought out the eighth caution with 28 laps to go after rear-ending Josh Wise. Hamlin won the race off pit road and assumed the lead for the restart, with 23 laps to go. Kahne took the lead almost immediately, and managed to fend off his rivals until the final two laps, when the caution flags flew for the ninth time, after Kyle Busch sent Martin Truex, Jr. into the wall. Kenseth won the race off pit road. On the first green-white-checker attempt, the field were unable to make it through turn one before cars started crashing.
Kahne took the lead on the second green-white-checker attempt and held off Kenseth to score his first win of the season. Kahne felt that his car was "all over the place during the race but the guys stayed with me and worked hard", but felt proud that they had sealed his place in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. Kenseth described the last two laps as "really intense", but also felt that "things are looking up" for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.
|1||10||5||Kasey Kahne||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||335||47|
|2||5||20||Matt Kenseth||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||335||43|
|3||17||11||Denny Hamlin||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||335||42|
|4||16||48||Jimmie Johnson||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||335||40|
|5||11||99||Carl Edwards||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||335||39|
|6||27||10||Danica Patrick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||335||38|
|7||4||31||Ryan Newman||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||335||37|
|8||3||42||Kyle Larson (R)||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||335||36|
|9||7||43||Aric Almirola||Richard Petty Motorsports||Ford||335||35|
|10||18||16||Greg Biffle||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||335||34|
|11||20||88||Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||335||33|
|12||15||1||Jamie McMurray||Chip Ganassi Racing||Chevrolet||335||32|
|13||22||41||Kurt Busch||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||335||32|
|14||14||22||Joey Logano||Team Penske||Ford||335||30|
|15||19||55||Brian Vickers||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||335||29|
|16||8||18||Kyle Busch||Joe Gibbs Racing||Toyota||335||28|
|17||9||24||Jeff Gordon||Hendrick Motorsports||Chevrolet||335||27|
|18||33||27||Paul Menard||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||335||26|
|19||1||4||Kevin Harvick||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||335||27|
|20||26||17||Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.||Roush Fenway Racing||Ford||334||24|
|21||25||7||Michael Annett (R)||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Chevrolet||334||23|
|22||24||13||Casey Mears||Germain Racing||Chevrolet||334||22|
|23||6||78||Martin Truex, Jr.||Furniture Row Racing||Chevrolet||334||21|
|24||13||3||Austin Dillon (R)||Richard Childress Racing||Chevrolet||334||20|
|25||29||33||Ty Dillon||Richard Childress Racing-Circle Sport||Chevrolet||332||0|
|26||31||51||Justin Allgaier (R)||HScott Motorsports||Chevrolet||332||18|
|27||38||34||David Ragan||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||331||17|
|28||37||38||David Gilliland||Front Row Motorsports||Ford||330||16|
|29||43||36||Reed Sorenson||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Chevrolet||330||15|
|30||40||26||Cole Whitt (R)||BK Racing||Toyota||329||14|
|31||42||40||Landon Cassill||Hillman-Circle Sport LLC||Chevrolet||329||0|
|32||41||32||J. J. Yeley||Go FAS Racing||Ford||328||0|
|33||36||98||Josh Wise||Phil Parsons Racing||Chevrolet||328||11|
|34||35||66||Brett Moffitt||Identity Ventures Racing||Toyota||327||10|
|35||30||23||Alex Bowman (R)||BK Racing||Toyota||326||9|
|36||39||83||Ryan Truex (R)||BK Racing||Toyota||326||8|
|37||34||77||Joe Nemechek||Randy Humphrey Racing||Ford||324||0|
|38||21||15||Clint Bowyer||Michael Waltrip Racing||Toyota||314||6|
|39||2||2||Brad Keselowski||Team Penske||Ford||296||6|
|40||23||47||A. J. Allmendinger||JTG Daugherty Racing||Chevrolet||258||4|
|41||12||14||Tony Stewart||Stewart-Haas Racing||Chevrolet||170||3|
|42||32||9||Marcos Ambrose||Richard Petty Motorsports||Ford||122||2|
|43||28||37||Mike Bliss||Tommy Baldwin Racing||Chevrolet||23||0|
- 21 lead changes among different drivers
- 10 cautions for 56 laps
- Time of race: 3:55:24
- Kasey Kahne won his first race in 2014
|Booth announcers||Pit reporters|
|Lap-by-lap: Allen Bestwick
Color-commentator: Dale Jarrett
Color commentator: Andy Petree
|Booth announcers||Turn announcers||Pit reporters|
|Lead announcer: Doug Rice
Announcer: Mark Garrow
|Turns 1 & 2: Rob Albright
Turns 3 & 4: Doug Turnball
Standings after the race
- "2014 Sprint Cup Series Schedule". ESPN. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- "Atlanta Motor Speedway". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. January 3, 2013. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- "Entry List". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. August 25, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- "First Practice Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. August 29, 2014. Archived from the original on September 1, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- "Qualifying Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. August 29, 2014. Archived from the original on September 2, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- "Second Practice Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. August 30, 2014. Archived from the original on September 2, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "Final Practice Results". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. August 30, 2014. Archived from the original on September 2, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- "Oral-B USA 500 Results". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. September 1, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- "Points Standings". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. September 1, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- "Manufacturer Standings". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. September 1, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- Paulsen (September 3, 2014). "Sprint Cup TV Ratings: Atlanta Race on Par With Last Year, But Still Low". SportsMediaWatch.com. Sports Media Watch. Retrieved September 3, 2014.
- Pistone, Pete (August 23, 2014). "Logano Wins Bristol Battle". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
- "Atlanta Motor Speedway Track Facts". AtlantaMotorSpeedway.com. Speedway Motorsports, Inc. 2013. Archived from the original on July 21, 2011. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- Bruce, Kenny (August 25, 2014). "Zipadelli, SHR navigating 'emotional roller coaster'". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- Gluck, Jeff (August 28, 2014). "Tony Stewart will return to race at Atlanta this weekend". usatoday.com. Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Retrieved August 28, 2014.
- Ryan, Nate (August 29, 2014). "Tony Stewart: Accident 'will affect my life forever'". usatoday.com. Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- Moody, Dave (August 29, 2014). "Stewart: "Something That Will Definitely Affect My Life Forever"". GodfatherMotorsports.com. Godfather Motorsports. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- Fryer, Jenna (August 29, 2014). "NASCAR will let Tony Stewart in Chase with win". ap.org. The Associated Press. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- Long, Dustin (August 29, 2014). "Stewart Eligible For Chase". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Archived from the original on August 31, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- Long, Dustin (August 29, 2014). "Drivers React To Stewart's Return, Chase Waiver". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Archived from the original on September 2, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- "Edwards tops opening practice at Atlanta". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. August 29, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- Long, Dustin (August 29, 2014). "Second Straight Pole for Harvick". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Archived from the original on September 2, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
- "Saturday practice recaps from Atlanta, Canada". NASCAR.com. NASCAR Media Group, LLC. August 30, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Pockrass, Bob (August 30, 2014). "Kenseth leads final practice at Atlanta". SportingNews.com. Sporting News. Retrieved August 30, 2014.
- Carbaugh, Dane (August 31, 2014). "Kevin Harvick almost hits a squirrel on the track in Atlanta". SportingNews.com. Sporting News. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
- Pennell, Jay (August 31, 2014). "Jeff Gordon blows tire, hits wall while running second at Atlanta". FoxSports.com. Fox Sports Interactive Media, LLC. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
- Bonkowski, Jerry (August 31, 2014). "Tony Stewart's hopes for strong comeback turn to rough night at Atlanta". motorsportstalk.nbcsports.com. NBC Sports. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
- Pistone, Pete (September 1, 2014). "Kahne Clinches with Atlanta Win". MRN.com. Motor Racing Network. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
2014 Irwin Tools Night Race
|Sprint Cup Series
2014 Federated Auto Parts 400