Brad Keselowski grabs first Cup win of 2017 at Atlanta after Kevin Harvick penalty

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Brad Keselowski passed Kyle Larson with seven laps remaining and raced unchallenged to his first win of the 2017 NASCAR Cup season in the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The door was opened for Keselowski after Kevin Harvick, the race’s pole-sitter and winner of the first two stages, was called for speeding during a caution 15 laps from the finish. Harvick led 292 laps.

The Team Penske driver had bounced back two unscheduled pit stops. The first was on Lap 117 for a tire problem. He was later forced to pit a second time right before a Lap 270 restart for a loose tire. Keselowski had beat Harvick off pit road and would have restarted first.

“This one kind of fell in our lap at the end and my team put it all together when it counted,” Keselowski said. “They gave me a great Auto Trader Ford Fusion and we were able to get by Kyle (Larson) there at the end. I knew that he wasn’t going to be easy to pass. His car was great and I was able to make the right moves to get by him.””

With his 22nd Cup Series victory, Keselowski earned his first Atlanta win in nine starts at the track. It was the No. 2 team’s first win since Keselowski’s victory at Kentucky Speedway last July.

“When you win, you don’t know if you’re ever going to win again,” Keselowski told Fox Sports. “You go through some spells. Gosh it feels good to get one early in the season like this.”

Completing the top five was Larson, Matt Kenseth, Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott.

Harvick finished ninth.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Matt Kenseth bounced back from a speeding penalty to finish third, his third top five in the last five Atlanta races … Martin Truex Jr. was caught speeding in the third stage of the race but managed to finished eighth … Larson led seven laps before finishing second, his first top five in four Atlanta starts … Kahne earned his first top five of the season. In 2016, his first of three didn’t come until the ninth race of the season …

WHO HAD A BAD RACE:  Clint Bowyer smacked the wall with 47 to go after losing a tire, but finished 11th on the lead lap … Richard Childress Racing batteries: Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman each fell victim to them in the final stage of the race, finishing 32nd and 35th respectively … Defending race winner Jimmie Johnson was caught speeding twice on pit road and finished 19th, a lap down  … Denny Hamlin finished 38th after going to the garage twice, initially for a burnt wheel hub … After multiple tire issues and a speeding penalty, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 30th, five laps down

NOTABLE: Larson has been passed for the lead with under 10 to in each of the last three races … Harvick’s 292 laps led are the most ever at Atlanta by a driver who failed to win. He has led the most laps in the last four races at Atlanta but failed to win all four.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:  “I have to go find Marcus Smith and Ed Clark and beg them not to repave it (the track). I don’t think that I’ll win that battle. Atlanta has always been one of those old school race tracks, look at victory lane…we’re out here on the frontstretch… it feels old school. A great place to win. A track that I haven’t won at before. Gosh darn it, it feels good.” – Brad Keselowski after he first Cup win at Atlanta.

NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 90: Roger Slack

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Eldora Speedway general manager Roger Slack joined the NASCAR on NBC podcast to discuss his track’s past, present and possible future with NASCAR.

Slack detailed the run-up to the initial “secret” test with Tony Stewart and Richard Childress Racing’s Austin Dillon that led to scheduling a Camping World Truck Series race that recently completed its fifth edition.

Slack also discussed the storied history of Eldora, which opened in 1954 and was bought by Stewart 50 years later.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone.

It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

NASCAR America: How Daniel Suarez found out he was replacing Carl Edwards (video)

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On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, Daniel Suarez recalled the moment he got the call that he was being promoted to replace Carl Edwards in the NASCAR Cup Series at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Suarez was at dinner back home in Mexico with family and friends when JGR officials called and him to be ready for a teleconference in a few moments.

Suarez stepped away, telling his dinner partners he’d be back shortly — which ultimately lasted 40 minutes.

When he returned to the dinner table, he couldn’t tell anything about the phone call — JGR officials swore him to secrecy — but he eventually revealed that he had been promoted to the NASCAR Cup Series to replace Edwards, who had decided to take a hiatus from his racing career.

Check out the video above.

 

 

NASCAR America: What Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other (video)

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Daniel Suarez appeared on Wednesday’s live broadcast of NASCAR America from the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina,

One of the funniest segments of Suarez’s visit was a video and verbal collage of how much he and his fellow Joe Gibbs Racing teammates really think of each other — all in good humor, of course.

Check out the video above where Suarez, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch answer the “tough questions” about themselves, as well as how they feel about their fellow teammates.

NASCAR America: Daniel Suarez’s journey from Mexico and VW Beetles to NASCAR champion (video)

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In winning last year’s Xfinity Series championship, Mexican native Daniel Suarez became NASCAR’s first international champion.

It was the culmination of a journey that began with his father and, interestingly enough, Volkswagen Beetles.

Check out Suarez’s story and the thoughts about his success and prowess by our NASCAR America analysts in the video above.

Speaking of VW Beetles, Suarez’s father sold his restoration shop to fund his son’s racing dream. Years later, Daniel repaid his father by purchasing a new restoration shop for him. See the video below.