Many NASCAR drivers will tell you they can’t wait to race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. And they say knowing that it’s a track that’s so abrasive that saving tires is as essential as saving gas.
Kyle Larson’s words will tell you a little more about the reasons for the love the song elicits “:
I appreciate worn surfaces. You can move. Hope this place will never be repaved. I have the impression that each year, we talk about it more and more. We will see what they do. I appreciate what it is. I mean, if it’s not repaved, it’s a whole different style of racing. It’s kind of what you like. For me, as a pilot, I am in this style.
Tire wear was fully visible along the stretch of Sunday Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. On the NASCAR broadcast on Fox, the line for the day was Larson “euthanizing the pitch” until he wasn’t. The # 5 Hendrick Motorsports Camaro blew the competition away in the first two stages, each winning six seconds or more.
As the laps ended on the stretch, Larson still had the dominant car, but Ryan blaney got closer and closer with each trip around the track. Then it happened. Blaney passed with eight left and retired for the upset victory.
Larson might as well have been riding on flat tires from the start. He was doing what most riders do in the later stages, doing everything he can to stay ahead. In the process, he used up his tires, And the rest is history.
“I was really hoping for a warning just to have new tires on it and I hope to take the leader out, control the restart and try to win that way,” said Larson. “I knew I was in trouble. But it didn’t turn out that way.
But with NASCAR’s return to the track in July, the first time AMS attended two events in the same year since 2010, Larson gets a mulligan.
A six pack of NASCAR
There are sixteen spots available for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, but as things have started this season, will the field be enlarged?
The first six races of the 2021 campaign have resulted in six different winners, and some of the usual suspects are still on the hunt for their first victory. Denny Hamlin, Kyle busch, Kurt busch, Auston Dillon, Kevin harvick, Joey logano, Aric almirola, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott are just a few of the names that have bad luck, or no luck at all.
If you put a W next to their names, 15 of the 16 NASCAR Cup Series playoff slots are now taken. There are twenty races left in the regular season and there will surely be repeat winners. Yet if the early results are any indication, another Michael McDowell or Christopher bell are likely to stick their noses in the championship picture.
Stay tuned. The NASCAR season has only just begun.