Brad Keselowski wins Atlanta after late-race drama
20 March, 2017, 18:50 | Author: Alberta Rodriguez
But unbeknownst to Harvick at the time, his clinic wasn't going to stay open all day.
That's the way it went at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday in the second race of the season in NASCAR's premier Cup category. Johnson also leads active drivers with five wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Photo by Christian Espinoza. That bumped Harvick to the rear of the field on the lead lap and he would eventually finish ninth. He would later return to the lead lap when the leaders made their pit stops. Yesterday's XFINITY and Truck Series races were considerably less drama-filled when coming back to the green and white checkered flag at the end of stages, and that certainly could be the case on Sunday as well.
Elliott had a fast Chevrolet, as he proved conclusively after incurring a pit road speeding penalty on Lap 212.
And that's exactly what happened.
Five cars did not pass inspection in time to get on the track.
Unfortunately stages only slowed down the race and did not change the race leader, who was Kevin Harvick throughout the start of all three stages. Harvick, who had the win in control prior to Dillon's action, was flagged for speeding on pit road and the penalty cost him a victory. Newman dropped from seventh to the tail end of the field.
Keselowski, who overcame an error of his own team's on pit road earlier in the race, passed Kyle Larson for the lead with seven laps to go to win at Atlanta for the first time.
"It was a disappointing finish to a good day", Elliott said in a statement. (188.854) and Brad Keselowski (188.783). Photo by Zach Darrow.
"You never know. That's how these races are", Keselowski said. If you can't win the first [stage], put yourself in position to be in a good spot to maybe capitalize and win the second one. "But until we really get into side drafting and trying to free people up from behind them or alongside of their quarter-panel I don't know if I have a good read on it yet". A great winning percentage at this level is one out of every 10 races, and one out of every 10 races, if you can pull that off, you're a Hall of Famer. He called Keselowski back to pit road before the race resumed, forfeiting the lead and placing Keselowski 14th on the subsequent restart. Apparently, I wasn't. I want to thank everyone on our Jimmy John's Ford for everything they did this weekend. "I think we made a big shot in the right direction, me being able to keep up with him".
I still believe this format could work and I still believe it lends itself more to non-restrictor plate tracks, where pit strategies aren't contingent upon having drafting help from others. It gets to bouncing there and you can't really tell where you're at, and that's why there are so many speeding penalties here because you have to run it so close.
Third-place finisher Matt Kenseth sped on pit road twice during Sunday's race. On Sunday he was in position to benefit from Harvick's speeding penalty, but he couldn't hold off Keselowski's stronger auto on the final run.
"We've had races where we've led a bunch of laps and things fall apart at the end", Keselowski said Sunday evening, savoring the 22nd victory of his career with his almost 2-year-old daughter, Scarlett, crawling around on the floor of the media center.
"I'm just going down and hooking the corner just like Mesa Marin", Harvick said over the radio during his domination.
The only thing Harvick could say to his team after the speeding penalty, "I am so sorry, guys".
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