Atlanta Motor Speedway stands as one of the last historic reminders of NASCAR’s roots. It’s surface has not been repaved since 1996 and provides one of the most difficult challenges to even the most seasoned driver. This early appearance in the schedule provides a launching point for teams, a chance to see how they will likely compare to all other teams week-to-week. It’s shape has birthed a slew of mile and a half tracks which seek to capture the excitement of this oval. This is where the young team looks to mark its presence in this year’s competition.
As the shadows grew long late on Thursday, the BJ McLeod Motorsports team pulled into Atlanta Motor Speedway. With just two short hours to work on tech day, the team would unload cars and get them prepared for the weekend’s first technical inspections. After a five hour ride, the team was anxious to stretch out and get their new cars ready to run.
Friday morning would see three practices unfold. With a concentration on qualifying, all three teams would turn just a few laps. Practice number one saw Jeff Green lead the way at 23rd quick. Practice number two would see rookie driver, Clint King, lead the Skull Racing contingent 28th quick. After the second practice, Jeff Green was happy with his car and they would cover it for the final session. The Final “Happy Hour” practice would see Clint King finish the day 32nd quick and David Starr 38th quick.
Satuday morning would see arrival of the VIP sponsor guests, Triple R Containers and Warehouse Design Incorporated. They would be treated to a cold morning of horsepower and happiness. The flagship 78 Chevrolet sponsored by Warehouse Design, Momo Motorsport, and Roux Helmets driven this weekend by Clint King would time in to start 34th. The 8 car sponsored by Triple R Containers, OMP racing, and Ice-Frost driven by Jeff Green would qualify 32nd. Finally, the 99 driven by David Starr would finish qualifying in 38th position with the Striping Technologies L.P. Chevrolet after the 13 car retired due to contact with the wall which broke the rear end and caused a spin.
Just a few short hours later the team would have all three cars set up in race trim, adjusted air pressures and tape on the grill, ready to race. After invocation and anthem the drivers took to their cars. Crew Chiefs spoke final words of advice and encouragement, then the window nets went up.
The green flag flew, quickly followed by the yellow! Ty Dillon’s number 3 spun and collected the 11 of Blake Koch. All 3 of the BJMM cars had moved up on the initial start. Jeff Green had jumped up to 26th with the 78 jumping to 31st and David Starr up to 34th in just one lap. Too early to make any adjustments every team chose to stay out and wait.
The first run would see Clint’s 78 turning well but the 8 sliding the front tires and then snapping the rear end around once the front tires got grip. Jeff fought through the first run and held position around 28th. King would hold around 30th position. First pit stops worked to loosen up the Triple R Containers Chevrolet of Jeff Green and provide better overall grip for the 78 and 99. The next stops would improve handling and performance for all three teams which continued to hold position.
With just twenty laps remaining in the event the 78 suffered a mechanical failure which relegated Clint to a 35th place finish. David Starr would hold on for a 32nd place finish, and Jeff Green would pilot his Camaro to a 26th place finish.
Team principal, B.J. McLeod watched his team from the pit area.
“All 3 cars were fast during practices and we were happy with qualifying results. Everything looked promising and was going good. Our teams made some solid adjustments and had good pit stops. Regrettably only 20 laps from the end, Clint King’s #78 had a mechanical failure. We want to thank all of our sponsors for their partnership with BJ McLeod Motorsports. We enjoyed having you part of our team at Atlanta Motor Speedway. While we are satisfied with the final results, we look to continuously improve and perform better each and every week. See you at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.”
B.J. McLeod Motorsports leaves Atlanta Motor Speedway with Jeff Green 28th in driver points, David Starr 32nd in driver points, and Clint King 35th in driver points.