Keselowski wins NASCAR race in Atlanta after late mistakes by Harvick, Larson

Miscue on pit road costs Kevin Harvick a win in Atlanta after dominant performance

Shanna Lockwood—USA Today Sports
NASCAR Cup Series driver Brad Keselowski (2) poses with the trophy on victory lane after winning the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kevin Harvick led the Folds of Honor 500 nearly all afternoon, but with 12 laps to go he was too fast entering pit road. The major mistake by Harvick sent him to the back of the pack, opening up an opportunity for Brad Keselowski to cruise down the stretch to win in Atlanta for the first time in his career.The only other driver who had a shot at the win after Harvick’s miscue was Kyle Larson. The No. 42 car took off to take a nearly half second lead over Keselowski, but then suddenly made a surprising decision. After taking the low line in Atlanta nearly all afternoon, Larson decided to go high. Keselowski pounced on the mistake, jumping to the lead at the bottom of the track and never relinquishing it.”You never know. That’s how these races are,” Keselowski said. “We had a lot of adversity today there’s not doubt about that. These races aren’t easy. They’re 500 miles and a lot can happen and when you think you’ve got it they slip away. I know how it goes. This one kind of fell in our lap at the end and my team put it all together when it counted.”Starting from the pole, Harvick and his crew were perfect nearly all day. Every time the No. 4 needed the crew to step up, they did just that with Harvick winning the race off pit road multiple times. That made Sunday an even more sobering pill to swallow.”Man, I’m so sorry, guys,” Harvick told his crew after the mistake. “I didn’t even think I was pushing it.”Harvick won the first two stages easily, leading by a large margin at the end of each segment. He also helped his teammates in the final laps of each stage by easing up on Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch in the first and second segment, respectively, to avoid lapping them before the restart after the green-white checkered flag waved.That not only helped his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates, but also a pair of competitors. Kasey Kahne and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. earned the “Lucky Dog” and returned to the lead lap after Harvick’s move. All four drivers finished in the top 20, but Patrick finished the worst of the four drivers in 17th despite being shown some love from Harvick.Issues were abundant for some of the biggest names in the sport not named Harvick, too.Dale Earnhardt Jr. had nearly everything go wrong from multiple tires down to a pit road penalty, ultimately resulting in a 30th-place finish. That poor finish comes after being involved in a massive wreck during the Daytona 500 that sent him to a 37th-place result.Denny Hamlin was another driver in need of a strong result after finishing 17th in Daytona, but he didn’t get it in Atlanta. The No. 11 car suffered a mechanical issue and headed straight to the garage to finish 38th.A pair of Richard Childress Racing drivers in Austin Dillon and Ryan Newman ended their races early due to battery problems. Dillon was running third when his battery suddenly shut off to finish 32nd. Newman was coming off a pit-road penalty after running fourth when his battery issue sent him to 35th.Here’s a look at the final results from the Folds of Honor 500 in Atlanta:Brad KeselowskiKyle LarsonMatt KensethKasey KahneChase ElliottJoey LoganoKurt BuschMartin Truex Jr.Kevin HarvickJamie McMurrayClint BowyerTrevor BayneRicky Stenhouse Jr.Erik JonesTy DillonKyle BuschDanica PatrickRyan BlaneyJimmie JohnsonCole WhittDaniel SuarezLandon CassillDavid RaganChris BuescherPaul MenardA.J. AllmendingerAric AlmirolaMatt DiBenedettoMichael McDowellDale Earnhardt Jr.Reed SorensonAustin DillonJeffrey EarnhardtCorey LaJoieRyan NewmanDerrike CopeGray GauldingDenny HamlinCody Ware