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Monday, 06 March 2017 00:12

Keselowski Wins at Atlanta When Harvick Falters

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Brad Keselowski (2) races with Chase Elliott during Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Brad Keselowski (2) races with Chase Elliott during Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Brad Keselowski takes the lead late, goes on to win at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Brad Keselowski won the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday after taking the lead following a late restart.

Keselowski ran up front for much of the race, but it seemed he would finish second after Kevin Harvick dominated throughout the day.  But Harvick was penalized for speeding on pit road during the final pit stop of the race, which sent him to the back for the following restart.  With Harvick out of the way, Keselowski ran down Kyle Larson to take the lead with seven laps remaining.

Keselowski said he didn’t have the best car, but his team was able to overcome their own misfortune to pick up the victory.

“Kevin was very, very strong, and probably was the guy to beat,” Keselowski said.  “We had our own issues with the tire and a loose wheel, and just fought through it all day.  We persevered.”

Keselowski said he was proud of his team for overcoming a crash in the season-opening Daytona 500 to win at Atlanta.

“I thought we were one of the cars to beat at Daytona, but kind of got wrecked out there and didn’t get to show our potential,” Keselowski said.  “Everybody kept their heads up and moved on to the next week.  This is what you get when you give that kind of effort.”

Harvick led 292 of 325 laps on Sunday, but the speeding penalty with 14 laps to go was too much to overcome.  Harvick said he was disappointed for costing his team a chance at the victory.

“I really hate it for everyone on this [team],” Harvick said.  “They put a great car under me and did everything I thought they needed to do…I was just going too fast on pit road apparently.”

Larson took the lead on the final restart, and it seemed as though he would pull away from the field to take the victory.  But after running the low line all day, Larson moved up to the top of the track in the closing laps, and that allowed Keselowski to get around him for the lead.

Larson said he tried to take Keselowski’s line away from him, but the plan backfired.

“I raced around Brad a lot throughout the day, and anytime I was in front of him on a short run he’d drive around me on the top,” Larson said.  “I knew I was going to have to take his line away on that restart.”

“I got to that high line and I just didn’t have enough grip out there in the lead.”

Unofficial results:

1. Brad Keselowski

2. Kyle Larson

3. Matt Kenseth

4. Kasey Kahne

5. Chase Elliott

6. Joey Logano

7. Kurt Busch

8. Martin Truex Jr.

9. Kevin Harvick

10. Jamie McMurray

11. Clint Bowyer

12. Trevor Bayne

13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

14. Erik Jones

15. Ty Dillon

16. Kyle Busch

17. Danica Patrick

18. Ryan Blaney

19. Jimmie Johnson

20. Cole Whitt

21. Daniel Suarez

22. Landon Cassill

23. David Ragan

24. Chris Buescher

25. Paul Menard

26. AJ Allmendinger

27. Aric Almirola

28. Matt DiBenedetto

29. Michael McDowell

30. Dale Earnhardt Jr.

31. Reed Sorenson

32. Austin Dillon

33. Jeffrey Earnhardt

34. Corey LaJoie

35. Ryan Newman

36. Derrike Cope

37. Gray Gaulding

38. Denny Hamlin

39. Cody Ware

Bryan Nicodemus

My name is Bryan Nicodemus.  I'm from Pittsburgh, PA, and I am currently a sophomore at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania.  I am majoring in Public Relations, and I hope to work in NASCAR someday.  Follow me on Twitter: @mmarkaholic55