Home US SportsNASCAR New-look Atlanta provides Cup race unlike any other at this track

New-look Atlanta provides Cup race unlike any other at this track

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HAMPTON, Ga. — By no means had they seen a race at Atlanta Motor Speedway like this. Pack racing, the leaders unable to interrupt away and crashes. Numerous crashes. So many crashes. And a few onerous hits.

Drivers forecasted chaos after an intense 50-minute observe session Saturday. Followers obtained it Sunday.

When it was over, an ebullient — and relieved — William Byron celebrated his first Cup win of the season. And Christopher Bell, who crossed the end line second, was penalized for passing under the out-of-bounds line on the backstretch and dropped to twenty third, the final automobile on the lead lap.

“Pretty crazy race, but definitely good to come out on top,” Byron stated.

A 500-mile race that took 3 hours, 57 minutes and 14 seconds didn’t earn the ire of followers as a result of there was motion on the observe — or seemingly motion even when it was onerous to cross. With automobiles operating two-by-two a lot of the race, and the traces bobbing and weaving, one thing gave the impression to be occurring even when it wasn’t.

A track-record 46 lead adjustments came about over 325 laps. Nonetheless, drivers talked about issue in passing in the event that they weren’t within the first few rows.

The race additionally had 11 cautions, together with eight for accidents — and that didn’t even embrace the crash as the sphere got here to the checkered flag. Chris Buescher traveled throughout the end line backward in seventh place.

Thirty-one of the 37 automobiles within the race have been concerned in a crash. Bubba Wallace and Cody Ware each stated their incidents have been the toughest they’ve ever had.

Everybody walked away.

Followers, wanting motion at a 1.5-mile observe as an alternative of single-file racing, walked away feeling good about this new type at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

“We designed this track two years ago with the help of iRacing (and) didn’t know what the Next Gen car was going to be like, said Marcus Smith, CEO of Speedway Motorsports, which operates Atlanta Motor Speedway. “Here we are today with a great day of racing a lot of fun for the race fans.”

Smith stated it was the observe’s largest crowd since 2014.

Not all drivers have been thrilled with the racing.

Kyle Busch, concerned in a crash, was by no means proud of the change. Final July, observe officers introduced they’d repave and reconfigure the observe, growing the banking from 24 to twenty-eight levels within the corners, Busch blistered the choice after he received the Xfinity race.

There ain’t nobody thinking,” Busch said then, alluding to the narrowing of the observe within the corners that he predicted would result in the sphere being caught two broad.

After exiting Sunday’s race and ending thirty third, Busch’s phrases have been fewer however the sentiment remained.

Requested if he felt he was extra an entertainer then driver at this observe, Busch stated: “Yup.”

Requested if he appreciated the adjustments, he stated: “Nope” after which walked away.

Joey Logano, who was concerned in a single incident and completed ninth, referred to as the sort of racing his “tax” for racing at different venues.

“I always look at it as a tax I’ve got to pay to go racing more fun stuff, like next week (at Circuit of the Americas),” Logano instructed NBC Sports activities. “That’s just part of it. I’m not a big fan of it because there are so many wrecks and stuff. It takes a lot of the driver out of it, so it kind of bugs me a little bit. You can study it and be really good at it and get caught up in the wrong stuff and that’s what happens.”

It occurred to Denny Hamlin, as his misfortune continued. He completed twenty ninth, eradicated by a crash. It marked the third time he’s failed to complete within the first 5 races of the season.

He was requested if this type of racing was acceptable for Atlanta.

“I think it’s what they were shooting for,” Hamlin stated of observe officers. “If you asked them, it’s a success. I think the racing was obviously close. It’s exciting. There’s some crashes. There’s something for everyone.”

Reigning Cup champion Kyle Larson, who completed thirtieth after he was eradicated from a crash, understood why the adjustments have been made to the observe.

“I like traditional-style racing and traditional-style mile-and-a-half racing, but for a new repaved track, this is probably more exciting,” he stated.

It was for Corey LaJoie, who was concerned in a crash and completed a career-high fifth.

“If it was as crazy as it felt, (the fans) had to be entertained,” he instructed NBC Sports activities. “It was an interesting style of racing.”

Profitable automobile proprietor Rick Hendrick stated he desires extra adjustments to the game to create distinctive occasions like Sunday’s race.

“I think keep changing it up, and it just seems to bring in a lot of new people that we haven’t seen,” he stated.

He went on to say: “I think just doing something different than you’ve done for years and years is good for the sport.”

Learn extra about NASCAR

What drivers said at Atlanta Motor Speedway Atlanta Cup results, driver points William Byron wins chaotic Cup race at new Atlanta Motor Speedway

Long: New-look Atlanta provides Cup race unlike any other at this track initially appeared on NBCSports.com

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