NASCAR: Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500

The final race in this second weekend of triple header racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway is the Monster Energy Cup Series Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500.

Today’s race marks the 2,500th premiere series race for NASCAR.

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Twelve members of the U.S. Special Operations Command watch the start of the Golden Corral 500 from trackside. The twelve were introduced to the 100 thousand plus fans at the Atlanta Motor Speedway during a special SOF demonstration. (Photo by Walt Sokalski, USASOC PAO)

The drivers will make 325 trips around the mile and a half track at AMS. Stages one and two for this race will be 85 laps each, with stage three making up the remaining 155 laps.

This week will also mark the first race with the new lower down force package. While all three races at Daytona last week were a caution filled wild ride that brought out the red flag in two of the races, the Camping World Trucks and the Xfinity Series races on Saturday were both rather calm affairs with relatively few caution flags and no big wrecks.

Atlanta Motor Speedway has planned to repave the race track after this weekend, but several of the drivers have spoken up and requested that AMS leave the track as is; in fact, they have started a petition to keep the track like it is – very abrasive. Atlanta is considering the motion.

Kevin Harvick earned the pole position in qualifying on Friday and will lead the field to the green flag.

Five drivers failed to make qualifying runs on Friday due to inspection issues, but with only 39 cars in the field, those five drivers will start the race at the back of the field and will be placed according to car owner points.

The starting lineup for the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500:
Kevin Harvick
Ryan Newman
Kyle Busch
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Brad Keselowski
Joey Logano
Jamie McMurray
Kyle Larson
Martin Truex Jr
Denny Hamlin
Chase Elliott
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Kurt Busch
Ryan Blaney
Trevor Bayne
Matt Kenseth
Paul Menard
Jimmie Johnson
Austin Dillon
AJ Allmendinger
Daniel Suarez
Matt DiBenedetto
Erik Jones
Danica Patrick
Clint Bowyer
Ty Dillon
Landon Cassill
Chris Buescher
Kasey Kahne
Aric Almirola
Gray Gaulding
Corey LaJoie
Reed Sorenson
David Ragan
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Michael McDowell
Cole Whitt
Derrike Cope
Cody Ware

Kevin Harvick takes the green flag to start the race and pulls out in front of the field. The drivers get spread out behind him. Jamie McMurray and Joey Logano make contact but do not wreck as drivers get three wide.

On lap six Harvick has already pulled out to a lead of nearly a second and a half over second place driver Ryan Newman.

After 17 laps, Cole Whit has made the biggest move by advancing eleven spots.

On lap 20, Cody Ware is one lap down. Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds.

Lap 23 Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over three seconds over second place driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Lap 25, Lead Kevin Harvick has put four cars one lap down.

Lap 34, drivers are beginning to make green flag pit stops for fresh tires.

Dale Earnhardt Jr and Matt Kenseth were caught speeding on pit road and must serve a pass through penalty.

Lap 37 leaders come down pit road for service.

Lead changes continue as leaders make pit stops.

After green flag pit stops, Kevin Harvick retakes the lead of the race with Brad Keselowski in second.

Ryan Blaney makes an unscheduled stop on pit road with 38 laps to go in the first stage.

Lap 53 Kevin Harvick has a lead of over two seconds on second place driver Brad Keselowski. There are 22 cars on the lead lap.

With 24 laps remaining in stage one Kevin Harvick has a lead of nearly three seconds. He has led all but three laps.

The abrasive track surface of Atlanta Motor Speedway takes a big toll on tires and the drivers lose two to three seconds per lap after about 20 laps. Former driver and current FOX broadcaster Darrel Waltrip spoke on the drivers getting a new set of Goodyear tires saying, “four mister feel goods makes you feel like superman.”

Drivers who have divided the segment into thirds have been making green flag pit stops. Dale Earnhardt Jr had to make an unscheduled pit stop for a shredded tire.

With only eleven laps remaining in the stage, Kevin Harvick has a lead of over four seconds over second place driver Brad Keselowski. Over half of the field is at least one lap down. All 39 cars are still on the track.

AT the end of stage one Kevin Harvick is in the lead and wins the 10 championship points, plus one playoff point. Kasey Kahne is the “lucky dog”.

TSM350_-_2015_-_Kevin_Harvick_-_Stierch_4_Cropped

The top 10 drivers at the end of stage one:
Kevin Harvick
Brad Keselowski
Chase Elliott
Martin Truex Jr
Joey Logano
Ryan Newman
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Denny Hamlin
Kyle Larson
Jimmie Johnson

On lap 88 pit road is open and the drivers bring their cars down pit road for fresh tires and fuel.

Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road.

Matt Kenseth was caught speeding on pit road for a second time.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 94 with Harvick pulling out in front of the field. Corey LaJoie has an issue with his car but the track stays green.

Fifteen laps into stage two, Kevin Harvick continues his dominating ways and has a lead of nearly a second over Brad Keselowski.

The drivers have run a total of 103 laps and leader Kevin Harvick has led 100 of them.

Lap 24 of stage two, Kevin Harvick holds on to a lead of less than one second over Brad Keselowski.

Joey Logano is reporting issues with a loose tire.

Lap 30 of stage two, Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds on Keselwoski.

Keselowski is reporting a tire issue and comes down pit road.

Harvick now has a lead of over six seconds on second place driver Chase Elliott.

Drivers have begun to make green flag pit stops for fresh tires.

Joey Logano was caught speeding on pit road.

With 45 laps remaining in stage two, Kevin Harvick’s lead over Chase Eliot is nearly six seconds.

Kevin Harvick brings his car down pit road for service with 43 laps remaining in stage two. Jimmie Johnson takes over the lead of the race.

After a tire issue, Brad Keselowski takes over the lead of the race with a 10 second lead when Jimmie Johnson comes down pit road for service.

Jimmie Johnson was caught speeding on pit road.

After 135 laps, Brad Keselowski’s 10 second lead is now down to less than three seconds.

Twenty nine laps remaining in stage two and Kevin Harvick passes Brad Keselowski to retake the lead of the race.

Two laps later Brad Keselowski makes a stop down pit road in an unscheduled stop.

Harvick has a lead of over five seconds on second place driver Chase Elliott.

Cody Ware is out of the race.

With 10 laps to go in stage two, Kevin Harvick continues to dominate the race with a lead of over five seconds. The third place driver Ryan Newman is over 12 seconds behind the leader.

Denny Hamlin came down pit road for service with only 10 laps remaining in the stage with what he though was a tire issue, but now reports that they thinks something is broken.

Five laps to go in the stage and Harvick now has a lead of over six seconds.

There are only 13 cars on the lead lap.

Kevin Harvick wins stage two and will earn another 10 championship points and another playoff point. Ricky Stenhouse gets the “lucky dog”.

The top 10 drivers at the end of stage two:
Kevin Harvick
Chase Elliott
Ryan Newman
Martin Truex Jr
Kyle Larson
Austin Dillon
Brad Keselowski
Erik Jones
Clint Bowyer
Trevor Bayne

Denny Hamlin has taken his car to the garage where the team is trying to repair the problem. The new crash clock rule does not affect any mechanical issues and repairs. Hamlin’s team may work on his car in an attempt to get him back on the track.

Lap 173 pit road is open; drivers come down pit road for service.

Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road with a 12 second pit stop.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart to begin the third and final stage on lap 178. Harvick gets a big lead on the field and is already nearly a second ahead in only one lap.

With 141 laps to go in the race, Harvick again has a lead of over a second.

Danica Patrick is trailing something behind her car. Speculation is that it is either a piece of tape or hose.

Chase Elliott has closed the gap on Kevin Harvick to less than a second with 131 laps remaining in the race.

Of the 207 laps run in the race so far, Kevin Harvick has led 190 of them…only five laps short of his record 195 which he led in 2014.

Jimmie Johsnon was caught speeding on pit road for a second time.

Drivers are making green flag pit stops.

With 115 laps to go, Harvick has a lead of nearly two seconds.

AJ Allmendinger and Martin Truex Jr were caught speeding on pit road.

Kevin Harvick gives p the lead to come down pit road for service with 113 laps remaining in the race.

Chase Elliott was caught speeding on pit road.

After his pit stop, Kevin Harvick retakes the lead of the race.

With 103 laps remaining in the race Harvick has a lead of over two seconds on Kyle Larson.

With 98 laps to go, Harvick’s lead is now over three seconds over second place driver Kyle Larson.

Ninety two laps remaining in the race and Kevin Harvick has increased his lead to over four seconds.

Only the third caution flag of the race comes out 240 for debris on the track. Martin Truex Jr is the “lucky dog”.

Kevin Harvick wins the race of of pit road.

With 80 lpas to and pulls out in front of the field with Kyle Larson running second

Denny Hamlin returns to the track after making repairs to his car. He is 79 laps down.

In five laps Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over a second on second place driver Brad Keselowski.

With 68 laps to go in the race, Harvick’s lead has increased to a second and a half.

Sixty four laps to go and Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over two seconds.

Gray Gaulding brings out the fourth caution flag of the race on 262 when his engine blows up. Denny Hamlin returns to the garage. Gaulding and Hamlin are out of the race. Matt Kenseth is the “lucky dog”.

Drivers bring their cars down pit road for service.

Brad Keselowski beats Kevin Harvick off of pit road.

Brad Keselowski’s team brought him back down pit road with concerns of not getting all of the lug nuts tight during the pit stop. Keselwoski will restart the race in 14th place.

Keselowski’s stop puts Kevin Harvick back in front. Several drivers tood the wave around.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 269 and pulls out in front of the field.

Within five laps, Kevin Harvick has pulled out to a lead of over a second.

Clint Bowyer brings out the caution flag with 47 laps to go after cutting a tire are hitting the wall. Kasey Kahne is the “lucky dog” and Bowyer is on the crash clock. Pit road is very busy even though the drivers were on pit road only 10 laps ago.

Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road.

Ryan Newman’s team is penalized for have a man over the pit wall too soon.

Kevin Harvick brings the field down for the green flag restart on lap 283. Harvick gets out in front of second place driver Chase Elliott. Thirteen cars took the wave around.

After restarting in 14th for a loose tire, Brad Keselowski is back in the top five.

Clint Bowyer is back on the track, beating the five minute crash clock.

Ryan Newman comes down pit road with an unscheduled stop and the crew pushes the car to the garage with a battery issue.

With 31 laps to go in the race, Kevin Harvick has a lead of over a second over second place driver Chase Elliott.

Twenty five laps remaining in the race and Kevin Harvick has a lead of nearly a second and a half. Brad Keselowski has moved up to third place and Matt Kenseth is in fifth.

With less than 20 laps remaining in the race, Kevin Harvick has increased his lead to over two seconds. Ryan Newman has returned to the race. Austin Dillon is reporting a power issue.

Dillon comes to a stop on the track and brings out the caution flag with 16 laps remaining in the race.

Drivers come down pit road one more time for fresh tires.

Kevin Harvick wins the race off of pit road.

NASCAR reports that Kevin Harvick was caught speeding on pit road and will have to serve a penalty.

Kyle Larson takes over the lead of the race followed by Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski. Harvick will restart the race in 35th position.

Jimmie Johnson took the wave around and then made a pit stop. He is being held a lap.

Kyle Larson brings the field down for the green flag restart with eleven laps remaining in the race. Larson takes the lead with Brad Keselowski in second. Austin Dillon returns to the race.

In two laps Kevin Harvick has moved up to 14th place.

Keselowski challenges Larson for the lead. With seven laps remaining in the race, Keselowski takes the lead of the race.

With six laps to go Harvick is up to eleventh place.

Harvick is back in the top 10.

Brad Keselowski takes the white flag.

Brad Keselowski wins the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 for his first win at Atlanta. Kevin Harvick finish in 9th place after leading 293 laps.

TSM_Brad_Keselowski_-_2015_-_Stierch_2(1)

The unofficial results of the Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500:
Brad Keselowski
Kyle Larson
Matt Kenseth
Kasey Kahne
Chase Elliott
Joey Logano
Kurt Busch
Martin Truex Jr
Kevin Harvick
Jamie McMurray
Clint Bowyer
Trevor Bayne
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
Erik Jones
Ty Dillon
Kyle Busch
Danica Patrick
Ryan Blaney
Jimmie Johnson
Cole Whitt
Daniel Suarez
Landon Cassill
David Ragan
Chris Buescher
Paul Menard
AJ Allmendinger
Aric Almirola
Matt DiBenedetto
Michael McDowell
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Reed Sorenson
Austin Dillon
Jeffrey Earnhardt
Corey LaJoie
Ryan Newman
Derricke Cope
Gray Gaulding
Denny Hamlin
Cody Ware

Next week NASCAR begins the west coast swing in Las Vegas.

photos courtesy of:

By Photo by Walt Sokalski, USASOC PAO – http://news.soc.mil, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4340273

By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41353373

By Sarah Stierch – Own work, CC BY 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=41292737


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