Race Weekend Central

Brad Keselowski: ‘I Would Not Have Passed Kyle Larson for the Win’ If Atlanta Was Repaved

The sport has spoken. They love Atlanta Motor Speedway.

After announcements that the track will undergo its first repave of the century, drivers, fans and media alike have pleaded to keep the 1.5-mile track just the way it is — and Sunday’s competitive race only grew their begs.

Brad Keselowski won the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 after passing Kyle Larson for the lead with seven laps to go. Following his 22nd career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series win, Keselowski made his feelings quite clear, as per usual.

“If this track was repaved, I would not have passed Kyle Larson for the win,” Keselowski admitted. “The groove would’ve been too small, it would’ve been too easy for him to block my air. I would not have been able to make it.”

From the wall-riders to the bottom-feeders, Sunday gave drivers a hefty dose of options. And they love options.

“That’s why drivers love tracks like this,” he said. “It opens up and allows us to make moves I was able to make to win the race. I would not have ever passed Kyle if this track had been repaved.

“If you’re a fan of passes for the lead at the end of races, you should like tracks like this. I know I do.”

Despite the pleas of reconsideration from NASCAR and Atlanta, Keselowski knows how tough a decision like this can be. For him, it is always safety first.

“I feel bad for those guys,” he said. “All it takes is one race where the track comes apart, there’s red flags, delays. Everyone gets mad at them. They are in a no-win spot. We pick on them and tell them to not do it, but at some point, you have to trust them in their business. and their business is racetracks.”

Sunday, which saw only one non-stage caution in the opening 264 laps, featured multi-lane racing and numerous comers and goers while Kevin Harvick slayed the field for most of the day.

And when Harvick fell to the wayside following a pit road speeding penalty, it was another Atlanta race decided in the closing laps. Keselowski, however, understands that all things must change.

“The surface has made it a long time and they should be proud of that,” he continued. “My hope is that it makes another one or two years. My desire to not see this track repaved is only superseded by my desire to not see it have an issue of coming apart.

“Nothing lasts forever.”

About the author

Growing up in Easton, Pa., Zach Catanzareti has grown his auto racing interest from fandom to professional. Joining Frontstretch in 2015, Zach enjoys nothing more than being at the track, having covered his first half-season of 18 races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. With experience behind the wheel, behind the camera and in the media center, he thrives on being an all-around reporter.

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