It turns out there’s still one more race left in the 20-year-old track surface yet! It had been discussed for a while that perhaps it was time that Atlanta Motor Speedway was due a repave following the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 400 race last month. Drivers and fans alike were very open about their disagreement with this decision and they didn’t want it to be “ruined.”
Following the race a few weeks ago, the track officials listened to what was being said and went away to regroup and discuss the best course of action. On the 28th March, they came back with the announcement that they’d be delaying the repave of the 1.54 mile track until 2018.
It was Dale Earnhardt Jr – driver for Hendrick Motorsports – who first announced the news on Twitter before it was later confirmed by track officials.
There will be a little bit of maintenance done to ‘patch things up’ somewhat, but a full repave will not happen just yet. The aim is to hold off repaving for as long as possible, and reassess the situation after next year’s race.
Speaking to NASCAR.com – President and General Manager of Atlanta Motor Speedway Ed Clark said the following: “We’re going to repave, it’s just a matter of when we’re going to do it.” He continued: “We appreciate the input we have received from key individuals in the NASCAR industry… The overwhelming majority have urged us to hold off on paving so we can enjoy at least one more weekend of high-speed slipping and sliding before the new surface is installed.”
Drivers love the character that an old track provides, and fans love to see how drivers will handle it. Brad Keselowski, driver for Team Penske, even went so far as to say that “drivers hate repaves.” Explaining why, driver for Hendrick Motorsports Jimmie Johnson said in a separate interview that it takes a “long time for the track to get back to this condition.” This undoubtedly affects the racing that fans have grown accustomed to seeing.
In the final words from Clark, he simply said: “We’re going to let it ride, let them slip and slide in 2018 and figure it out after that I guess.”
So, here’s to at least one more race on this surface, and let’s all hope that there’ll be more to come.