Published: Thu, March 01, 2018
Sports | By Sarah Myers

Hembree: NASCAR can beat the weather at Atlanta but not Kevin Harvick

Hembree: NASCAR can beat the weather at Atlanta but not Kevin Harvick

In the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, the second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race of the season, Harvick delivered a proper thrashing to the rest of the field, leading 181 of 325 laps and beating runner-up Brad Keselowski to the finish line by 2.690 seconds. From an outside perspective, it appears NASCAR has been quite accommodating, allowing the beverage company to put its name first and allowing multiple deadlines to come and go while it pondered the future of its sponsorship.

The Stewart-Haas Racing driver also earned six playoff points, which drivers carry throughout the first three rounds of the playoffs.

"It's clear the Fords have an unfair advantage", Hamlin said with a smirk. We fought track position, fought the auto going away too much on long runs. For five years, it's been so fast at this particular racetrack-and a lot of other ones-but I love racing here and it's good to be back in Victory Lane. It was a weekend of searching for Chevrolets. Following were Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and Harvick.

Here's where we'll regularly reset and revisit the key numbers coming out of race weekend. Although Ryan Newman started second and Larson started eighth, several started deep in the field.

Team Penske also had a great day, with Keselowski winning the second stage and matching his vehicle number with a second-place finish. "We'll have conversations and get it right". I felt like we did a pretty good job making the most of what we had. I just didn't do it quick enough, not used to having that.

With the teams headed to the West Coast for three weeks (the 1.5-mile Las Vegas track, the 1-mile Phoenix track and the 2-mile California oval), implementing what a team learns over the next couple of weeks could be tough. But the wear-and-tear of practice - and improvements in the guns after feedback from teams using them in practice - had the industry hopeful the guns wouldn't be an issue.

Elliott will be stressed while Harvick and his team get to relax. Unless they don't, but with the sizeable investment, it must have taken for NASCAR to purchase all that new equipment, don't expect to see it at your local speed shop anytime soon. Teams like Front Row, Germain and JTG Daugherty all started as start-and-parkers, but over the years have been able to rise into the middle class of the garage.

"Overall it just gives us a little bit of time to work on our stuff and get it better".

And in some ways, Childers still doesn't have an idea.

"He switched directions, hit [the lug nut] the first time and it didn't do anything and then hit it three more times and finally it reengaged and switched directions", Pearn said. While there, he worked on ICTV, on shows such as "Ya Think You Know Sports?" and "Sports Final".

And beyond all of this, one race is just too small of a sample size to reach a conclusion. We all fought hard with the best we had and we'll keep working hard to figure out the new rules.

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