Event: Folds of Honor 500 (Round 2 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Atlanta Motor Speedway (1.54-mile oval)
Format: 325 laps, broken into three stages (85 laps/85 laps/155 laps)
Start/Finish: 1st/9th (Running, completed 325 of 325 laps)
Point Standing: 1st (90 points)
Race Winner: Brad Keselowski of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick of Stewart-Haas Racing (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-85):
- Kevin Harvick started 1st, finished 1st.
- The No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford led 82 of 85 laps.
- Harvick pitted on lap 37 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to help a loose-handling condition.
- Harvick picked up 2.6 seconds after his lap-37 stop for new tires.
- The Freaky Fast driver held a lead of approximately 3.573 seconds over second place at the end of Stage 2.
- After Stage 1 the Jimmy John’s crew won the race off pit road with an 11.77-second stop for four tires, fuel and wedge adjustments.
- Earned a playoff point for prevailing as the victor in Stage 1.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 86-170):
- Started 1st, finished 1st.
- Harvick led 71 of 85 laps.
- The Jimmy John’s team pitted from the lead on lap 129 for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to correct a loose-handling condition.
- Harvick finished Stage 2 with a 5.398-second lead over second place.
- The Freaky Fast driver collected a playoff point for his victory in Stage 2.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 171-325):
- Started 1st, finished 9th.
- Harvick pitted for four tires, wedge and fuel at the conclusion of Stage 2, restarting the race in the top spot yet again.
- The Freaky Fast driver maintained the lead on the Stage 2 restart and went on to lead 139 of 154 laps in the final stage.
- A pit-road speeding penalty on his last stop dropped Harvick back to 18th for the final restart on lap 315.
- Harvick picked up nine positions in the remaining 10 laps to finish ninth.
- Stewart-Haas Racing is 1-2 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship standings. Harvick leads by four points over SHR teammate Kurt Busch.
- Harvick scored two playoff points for winning both the first and second stages.
- He led four times for a race-high 292 laps to bring his laps-led total at Atlanta to 971.
- Harvick scored his 12th top-10 finish in 27 NASCAR Cup Series starts at Atlanta.
- It was his 285th top-10 in 576 career Cup Series starts.
- The No. 4 Ford started from the pole position after a fast lap of 29.118 seconds at 190.398 mph in Friday’s qualifying session.
- NASCAR’s new lower downforce package made its race debut today at Atlanta. Compared to 2016 regulations, this year’s rules feature a spoiler height decrease from 3.5 inches to 2.375 inches, a 3-inch reduction of the outboard regions of the splitter, and a tapered rear deck fin to match the spoiler’s height.
Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Jimmy John’s Ford Fusion for Stewart-Haas Racing:
“This place, for whatever reason, I just feel like I’m snake bitten. It’s my own doing today. I really didn’t think I was even close on pit lane. It gets to bouncing around, I thought I was being conservative, apparently I wasn’t. I want to thank everyone on our Jimmy John’s Ford for everything they did this weekend. I was just pushing it too hard.
“I just made a mistake that I preach all the time that you don’t need to make and beat yourself and then you go out and make it yourself instead of following all the things you preach. That part is hard for me to swallow. The good part about it is our Ford has been really fast. We didn’t know what we were going to have when we got here, and we had a great weekend the whole time. Man, I just, one way or another I have figured out how to lose races here at Atlanta after being so dominant. We will pick ‘em up and start again next week.”
The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Kobalt 400 on Sunday, March 12 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The race starts at 3:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.