The expectation going into Sunday’s race was that the new Atlanta Motor Speedway would be another high-speed race. The job has been accomplished by Speedway Motorsports and NASCAR after what drivers said they tried for 500 miles in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.
“We did exactly what we set out to do today; we built the Atlanta Motor Speedway as a high-speed road,” said Cory Lagoy, who finished fifth.
William Byron won the race by keeping him away from Ross Chastain. The ending came to the point of momentum and drafting, and Byron pulled away while Chastain lost his help from Christopher Bell. Bale went to a hole he thought was there on the last lap and was punished for going below the double white line.
“It was definitely crazy,” Chase Elliott said after finishing sixth. “I hope it was fun to watch because I felt like it was brutal from my seat.
“It was a lot like Daytona or Talladega. Just trying to put yourself out there in the right place and hopefully it goes your way.”
Racing in a pack resulted in 46 lead changes between 20 different drivers. But there have also been accidents and major accidents while collecting multiple cars at breakneck speed. There were 11 warnings throughout the afternoon, including a competition warning.
“It’s a regular super speed,” said Joey Logano. “We keep falling apart. What did you expect? It’s the same things.”
“I think it’s OK, I don’t know. We survived (until we finished ninth), but a lot of cars crashed today for sure. Just as we expected… It’s a different kind of racing.”
Kurt Busch, who finished third, described the day as “quite wild”. It was as much as Busch could deliver in a race and track configuration.
“It’s very wild,” Bush said. “It’s really hard to digest now.”
Ross Chastain finished second and admitted he wasn’t bothered by the race and it was fun. However, Chastain does not want the industry to make changes to other tracks to replicate the same racing style.
“Let’s get it here and Daytona and Talladega,” Chastain said. “Let’s not repave every mile and a half in the country. Let’s not bring Kentucky back to life; let’s leave him 6 feet under. Done. We’re done[on him]. We’ll never go back there.”
“I feel like this could be its own thing, and people can be excited about that. But if you go 28 degrees of banking every mile and a half, that’s not our future. I think Jim and Ben know that. I think the family of France understands.”
“We’re the competitors, we want to lift. We’ll do it a few times (a year), and it’s great to win; it’s not so good if we crash. But let’s leave it at Atlanta… It’s a great place. Even if you’re out when we blew that tire, I think.” I still have a positive memory of him.”
“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”