Brad Keselowski survived pit road problems on Sunday en route to winning the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was Keselowski's 22nd career Cup win, and his first career win at the track.
Harvick takes the green flag, jumps out to early lead
Kevin Harvick led the field to the green flag and immediately was able to pull out in front as the field fanned out three-wide heading into turn one. Harvick managed to pull out to a one-second lead over Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman, who battled for the second position.
The battle for second got another member on Lap 33 when Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made his way into the second position. That didn’t matter to Harvick, who by Lap 15 extended his lead to three seconds over Stenhouse Jr. He gave up the lead with 49 laps to go when he made his first green flag pit stop, along with the majority of the top-10.
When pit stops cycled through, Harvick was back in front, with Keselowski in the second position.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. struggles early
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran into multiple issues early in the race, as on his first pit stop he was penalized for speeding, then near the end of the first segment, he was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop due to a right rear tire issue, which put him two laps down.
Back at the front of the field, Harvick opened up a 4.5 second lead over Keselowski by the time the first segment came to an end, giving him the segment win, and the points that came with it.
Following the ensuing pit stops, the second stage got started, with Harvick leading the field to the green flag. Keselowski ran into an issue, as he reported on his radio that he ran over something, and was forced to stop on pit road. He was able to recover and took the lead on Lap 135 when Harvick made a green-flag pit stop.
Keselowski makes another unscheduled pit stop
Harvick took the lead back a short time later when Keselowski again had to make an unscheduled pit stop. This put Harvick back in the lead, with Elliott in the second position. Harvick quickly opened up another large lead over the field and cruised to the segment two win, and more points for him.
After pit stops, the green flag flew over the final segment, with Harvick once again leading the field to the green flag. He was leading on Lap 239 when the caution flag flew for debris on the track, it was the first non-segment ending caution of the race, and enabled the field take pit stops. Harvick took four tires and fuel and won the race off pit road.
Harvick took the green flag with 80 laps to go, while behind him Larson and Keselowski battled for the second position. He was leading on Lap 262 when the fourth caution of the race flew, this one for Gray Gaulding, who’s no. 23 car began smoking, forcing him to the garage.
Keselowski penalized on pit road
Harvick lost the race off pit road to Keselowski, but he received a penalty that forced him to vacate his spot and allowed Harvick to restart on Lap 269 from the lead.
On the restart, Austin Dillon had a hard time getting started, and he dropped out of the top five. The caution flag came out 10 laps later when Clint Bowyer hit the wall. Harvick again won the race off pit road, and again led the race back to the green flag.
The caution flag once again came out, this time on Lap 310 for Dillon, who lost power to his car and stalled out on the backstretch. While he brought his car to the garage, the rest of the field brought their cars down pit road, where everyone took four tires and fuel.
Harvick suffers speeding penalty
Harvick won the race off pit road but was forced to start at the back of the field after being caught speeding on pit road. That put Larson in first place, with Keselowski in the second position. Larson got a great jump on the restart but was heavily pressured by Keselowski, who almost passed him with eight laps to go, but was unable to finish.
Keselowski did complete the pass with five laps to go, and he was able to hold the lead and pick up the win. Larson finished second, with Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne, and Elliott rounding out the top-five. Harvick was able to salvage a ninth place finish.