Why is Sunday's NASCAR race historic for Atlanta Motor Speedway?

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

AJ Allmendinger tested on the road course at Charlotte over the offseason, so we know it's something that's at least been thought of.

"... I have to go find Marcus Smith and [track president] Ed Clark and beg them not to repave it", Keselowski said, laughing.

In the season opener at Daytona, Suarez was taken out in a crash and finished 29th.

If you don't see a Joe Gibbs Racing driver when visiting the NASCAR standings webpage, just keep scrolling down.

NASCAR's television deal with Fox and NBC is for 36 points races and two non-points events a year, so any additional Cup event at Las Vegas most likely would come from a realignment request from a Speedway Motorsports Inc. track. His average finish is only 18.00, but Hamlin is capable of winning here and should make a push with the top contenders. He wound up running out front for a staggering 292 of 325 laps, usually ceding the lead only when he came into the pits. However, cars experiencing a mechanical issue, once repaired, are eligible to return.

"Would we have caught the 4?" said Roger Penske, Keselowski's vehicle owner. "We have not finalized any schedules for 2018 or beyond but will announce them as they become final".

Even attempting to sound confident in his team, Hamlin didn't sound convinced. "I didn't think I was pushing it that close ..."

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Re-thinking the Atlanta repave? The current track was last repaved in 1997, with the grooves firmly worn in after two decades of racing on the same surface. Coming from a dirt track background which helps tremendously here, look for Busch to run this race wide open and try to get his third win in Atlanta. "To be at the race track and already have a win for the 41 and a pole for us and everybody running good says a lot about the effort that has gone into this transition". The downside is that you're traveling a longer distance, essentially choosing to make the track 1-5/8 miles long rather than 1-1/2 (not exact science!), but the difference in the way your vehicle feels on old tires running the high line versus the low line is enormous.

Harvick seemed poised to victory at the 1.54-mile trioval for the first time since his initial Cup victory in 2001, just three races after he got his chance following the death of Dale Earnhardt.

With the response from NASCAR drivers taken into account, there might be a change of plans for the aging surface.

Kevin Harvick lost a race Sunday by going too fast. The new pavement will be laid over the current surface. "We all know it's going to happen. But all in all, a good day for us".

"Freaky Fast", it said, an homage to the Jimmy John's sandwich shop chain, one of his primary sponsors.

Brad Keselowski (Starting 5th)-Back-to-back 9th places finishes notwithstanding, Keselowski has had trouble at Atlanta.

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