Kevin Harvick (4) reacts after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. John Bazemore AP
Kevin Harvick (4) reacts after winning Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga. John Bazemore AP

NASCAR & Auto Racing

NASCAR Cup Series | Results and 3 takeaways from Sunday’s race at Atlanta

By Brendan Marks

bmarks@charlotteobserver.com

February 25, 2018 08:33 PM

Kevin Harvick won the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 on Sunday, his first win of the 2018 season, but there are other implications from the race as well. Here are the three biggest takeaways from Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

1. Talk about a dominant win

It’s easy to look at the top of the leaderboard and say someone won a race, but to do so the way Harvick did Sunday was as impressive as it gets. Harvick led 173 of 325 laps, but the lead he built up in the process was daunting. At one point, Harvick was in the lead by eight car lengths or so. It was Harvick’s first win at Atlanta since his first career Cup Series win there 17 years ago, and what a way to do it.

2. New Chevy, as expected, will take time to understand...

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When Toyota unveiled its new Camry before the 2017 season, there were questions about how long it would take teams to fully utilize the equipment. As it turned out, that ended up being about halfway through the season. And then, once teams did figure it out? Well, the Toyota drivers became untouchable and tore through the remainder of the schedule. Expect a similar grace period for the new Chevy Camaro. The best finish from a Chevy at Atlanta was Kyle Larson in ninth – it might take a few more months before the Chevy drivers are consistently fighting for race wins.

3. And in the meantime?

Ford cars, Harvick included, have been surprisingly good this year. Considering there was no new body this season, (and one won’t be coming until 2019), the fact that the Fords have done so well is unexpected. But Brad Keselowski won the Clash at Daytona, and now Harvick has a win at Atlanta, and the top three finishers this weekend were all Fords (Keselowski and Clint Bowyer were second and third, respectively). Will this keep up all season? Probably not, especially once the new Chevy rounds into form. But for now, Ford has to be happy.

During the second stage of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 18, 2018 NASCAR drivers Kevin Harvick, Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne got loose coming out of Turn 3 at Daytona International Speedway with all three wrecking. Harvick was able to conti

By

Brendan Marks: 704-358-5889, @brendanrmarks

Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

Sunday’s full race results, from the Associated Press:

NASCAR Monster Energy Cup

At Atlanta Motor Speedway

Atlanta

Lap length: oval, 1.5 miles

St

Driver

Car

Laps

*

Rating

1

3

Kevin Harvick

Ford

325

0

56

2

5

Brad Keselowski

Ford

325

0

53

3

9

Clint Bowyer

Ford

325

0

45

4

12

Denny Hamlin

Toyota

325

0

40

5

35

Martin Truex Jr

Toyota

325

0

39

6

16

Joey Logano

Ford

325

0

39

7

1

Kyle Busch

Toyota

325

0

43

8

7

Kurt Busch

Ford

325

0

41

9

8

Kyle Larson

Chevrolet

325

0

36

10

27

Chase Elliott

Chevrolet

325

0

27

11

10

Erik Jones

Toyota

325

0

26

12

26

Ryan Blaney

Ford

325

0

25

13

11

Aric Almirola

Ford

325

0

33

14

25

Austin Dillon

Chevrolet

324

0

23

15

4

Daniel Suarez

Toyota

324

0

23

16

6

Ricky Stenhouse Jr

Ford

324

0

21

17

15

Paul Menard

Ford

324

0

20

18

23

William Byron

Chevrolet

323

0

19

19

13

Jamie McMurray

Chevrolet

323

0

18

20

18

Alex Bowman

Chevrolet

322

0

17

21

14

Kasey Kahne

Chevrolet

322

0

16

22

2

Ryan Newman

Chevrolet

322

0

15

23

29

David Ragan

Ford

321

0

14

24

17

Michael McDowell

Ford

321

0

13

25

24

Chris Buescher

Chevrolet

321

0

12

26

28

Ty Dillon

Chevrolet

321

0

11

27

22

Jimmie Johnson

Chevrolet

321

0

10

28

32

Cole Whitt

Chevrolet

320

0

9

29

21

AJ Allmendinger

Chevrolet

320

0

8

30

34

Ross Chastain

Chevrolet

319

0

0

31

30

Matt DiBenedetto

Ford

319

0

6

32

19

Darrell Wallace Jr

Chevrolet

319

0

5

33

36

Harrison Rhodes

Chevrolet

310

0

4

34

33

Jeffrey Earnhardt

Chevrolet

305

0

3

35

20

Trevor Bayne

Ford

292

1

0

2

36

31

Gray Gaulding

Toyota

99

2

0

1

*Reason out: 1-engine, 2-accident.

Darrell Wallace Jr. (43) guides his damaged car to the pits after being involved in a crash in Sunday’s race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Dale Davis AP

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace was asked by a reporter following the Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 18, 2018 if he is always so emotional. Wallace responded understandably that when you have family and run a good race it tugs at your heartstrings. Walla

By
Race Statistics

Average Speed of Race Winner: 143.071 mph.

Time of Race: 3 hours, 29 minutes, 54 seconds.

Margin of Victory: 2.690 seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 0 laps.

Lead Changes: 24 among 8 drivers.

Lap Leaders: Ky.Busch 0; R.Newman 1-17; Ky.Busch 18-20; K.Harvick 21-31; Ky.Busch 32; K.Harvick 33-88; M.Truex 89; B.Keselowski 90-100; Ku.Busch 101-125; K.Harvick 126-127; Ky.Busch 128-131; K.Harvick 132-159; Ku.Busch 160; B.Keselowski 161-172; Ku.Busch 173-198; B.Keselowski 199-213; Ky.Busch 214; D.Hamlin 215-225; K.Harvick 226-252; D.Hamlin 253-265; K.Harvick 266-288; D.Hamlin 289-290; K.Harvick 291-299; J.Logano 300; K.Harvick 301-325

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Led, Laps Led): K.Harvick, 8 times for 173 laps; Ku.Busch, 3 times for 49 laps; B.Keselowski, 3 times for 35 laps; D.Hamlin, 3 times for 23 laps; R.Newman, 1 time for 16 laps; Ky.Busch, 5 times for 5 laps; J.Logano, 1 time for 0 laps; M.Truex, 1 time for 0 laps.

Wins: A.Dillon, 1; K.Harvick, 1.

Top 16 in Points: 1. J.Logano, 89; 2. R.Blaney, 83; 3. D.Hamlin, 77; 4. K.Harvick, 75; 5. C.Bowyer, 74; 6. A.Dillon, 70; 7. M.Truex, 69; 8. Ku.Busch, 68; 9. A.Almirola, 66; 10. P.Menard, 66; 11. Ky.Busch, 61; 12. B.Keselowski, 58; 13. K.Larson, 54; 14. M.McDowell, 52; 15. D.Wallace, 52; 16. R.Newman, 49.

Rain delayed the start of Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway by 2 hours, 30 minutes. Then, the threat of more rain added urgency in the late battle for the lead. Above, crew members cover and push Kyle Busch's No. 18 car toward the garage.
Paul Abell AP

NASCAR Driver Rating Formula

A maximum of 150 points can be attained in a race.

The formula combines the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish.