Harvick Continues Hot Streak in Atlanta
Photo: Kevin C. Cox|Getty Images
Kevin Harvick won Sunday’s Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was Harvick’s 51st career win and second on the 2020 season, both of which have been since NASCAR’s return less than a month ago.
Harvick is good at Atlanta, like REALLY good. Sunday was his third trip to victory lane at the Hampton, Georgia track. Coming into Sunday he had led at least 100 laps in six of the last eight Atlanta races and he made that seven out of nine by having 151 laps out front, the most of anybody in the field. The term ‘Harvicking’ has become a thing over the past few years in relation to his ability to stick his car on the white line at Atlanta. While he didn’t stay on the bottom lane the entire race, he once again proved that he’s great at Atlanta.
It may seem odd to say that an organization is ‘off’ when it has two wins in ten races this season and three of its four drivers are in the top 10 in points, but for Joe Gibbs Racing that’s the case. This is a team that won over half the races in 2019 and was virtually unstoppable on the mile and a half tracks. Fast forward to 2020 and in the first nine races, JGR’s two wins, both with Denny Hamlin, were at a Superspeedway in Daytona and a rain shortened Darlington event. The team’s lone stage win was Hamlin’s at Daytona and they had only led a combined 481 laps.
On Sunday at Atlanta, they showed signs of returning to their dominate ways. Martin Truex Jr. won both stages and led 65 laps before finishing third, Kyle Busch and Hamlin had consistent top 5 speed all race and finished second and fifth respectfully, Erik Jones had top ten speed, but a cut tire rendered him three laps down in twenty-eighth.
They’re certainly not back on top off the mountain yet, but don’t be surprised if they make it there before too long.
A looooooong day
Sunday’s race was 500 miles and took exactly three and a half hours to complete. This is nothing new, Atlanta has been running 500 milers for over 50 years now and these long races on intermediate tracks take a long time and almost always have lulls in action as drivers ride out the miles. The only difference is we have recently been given a taste of 500 kilometer races at both Darlington and Charlotte. Both races featured a since of urgency due to the short distance and as a result both races were action packed. I’m not advocating future AMS races go the 500k route, but I don’t think 400 miles would be a bad idea. Worth a shot right?