By Michael Guzman, Contributing Writer
Hampton, GA – “Don’t do it!” Brad Keselowski sarcastically pleaded to Speedway Motorsports Inc. CEO Marcus Smith. “We’re trying to save you money, Marcus!”
Following a race that drew mixed reviews on social media but produced a thrilling finish, the victor Keselowski and local favorite Chase Elliott added their opinions on Atlanta’s weathered racing surface; praising the racing it produced while hoping there was an alternative that would keep the status-quo regarding the 20-year-old pavement.
“I mean, I think the way it is currently is better than the alternative myself,” Chase Elliott said following his fifth place finish. “I think it has a lot of character, and to me it puts on good racing and allows you to kind of move around and do some different things, especially as the sun went down.”
That ability to move around the track allowed Keselowski to pass Kyle Larson for the race win, something he admitted later seemed impossible on any repaved surface.
Drivers ranging from Camping World Truck Series regulars like Matt Crafton to future Hall-of-Famers like Jeff Gordon have come out publicly against the repave, which will be redone in similar fashion to Kansas Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway as opposed to being completely resurfaced.
Couldn’t agree more “PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!!” It’s never too late! https://t.co/mkfrVgOoLe
— Jeff Gordon (@JeffGordonWeb) March 5, 2017
Keselowski, who is viewed by any as one of the most invested people in all of racing, sees both sides of the situation. Drivers want the difficulty, but fans are entitled to new surfaces due to their resistance to weather among other things.
“They’re really in a no-win spot,” Keselowski admitted. “We pick on ‘em and tell ‘em don’t do it and all these other things but at some point you have to trust them to know their business… Drivers hate repaves, we want to see the surfaces last as long as they can, but the reality is nothing lasts forever.”