Despite Kevin Harvick dominating, Brad Keselowski won Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta.
The speeding penalty on pit road - an issue that plagued a bunch of drivers, including two-time defending race victor Jimmie Johnson - knocked Harvick to the end of the lead pack with 11 laps remaining. "I think that's just a testament to how tough it is".
"I hate when I lose that way", Keselowski said.
"I didn't think I was pushing it", Harvick told his crew over the radio.
Keselowski passed Kyle Larson for the lead with six laps to go and pulled away for a victory that, by all rights, should've gone to Kevin Harvick. In his post-race interview, Larson explained that he was adjusting to how Keselowski had raced him most of the afternoon; the No. 2 had been able to pass him on the outside frequently. "You just can't take any wins for granted".
While the racing at AMS tends to be fast and exciting, it's hard to match the intensity and excitement generated by last week's season-opening Daytona 500. In Stage 2, Keselowski had two unscheduled pit stops. The first issue come on lap 117 for a tire issue, and the other prior to the lap 270 restart for a loose wheel. In fact, he hasn't won at the 1.54-mile trioval since his first Cup victory in 2001, which came in just his third career race after taking over following the death of Dale Earnhardt.
Brad Keselowski celebrating with the American flag after the race.
"I mean, it's all about managing your tires and taking care of your auto".
Regardless of the big number of those who also drove into the abyss, Harvick will have the worst memory from a day that should have ended in beer and confetti.
"Yeah, I mean, I can make the high line work at most tracks", Larson said. He finished eighth back in 2014. Driver (s) might mess up or have something happen out of the ordinary, where he qualifies very low but runs in the top practice times.
After Sunday's race, victor Brad Keselowski's sentiments sounded like it echoed most of his competitors. His driver rating at this track is 95.1, which is in the top 10 in the field. "It was an uphill battle all day".
CHASE'S WOES: Local favorite Chase Elliott might've been in position to challenge for his first Cup win, but a problem on the final pit stop cost him valuable track position.
Ben Rhodes ran fourth, followed by Chase Elliott and Grand Enfinger, who tangled with Cindric to cause the final caution. NASCAR meted out a whopping 13 penalties for exceeding the pit road speed limit, including two to Jimmie Johnson, the seven-time series champion.
He grew up in Dawsonville, Georgia that is about two hours away from Atlanta Motor Speedway by auto.
"We rebounded from that [penalty]", Elliott said in the media center. I love all the positive comments we've gotten.
"I thought I was being conservative", Harvick said. Something for me to try to improve on coming back.
We just may have to wait until NASCAR's 2018 schedule comes out to find out.
(Busch) "You gotta have a top team".
"No one likes repaves", said Jamie McMurray.
It's the Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500.
He sits first in the standings through two races with 90 points, ahead of SHR teammate Kurt Busch (86 points, second place).
Kevin Harvick, another former victor, will lead the field to the green from the pole on Sunday.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will vote Wednesday on a sponsorship package that could bring a second NASCAR race to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway by the fall of 2018.