After a race weekend earlier this month full of drivers begging the speedway not to repave, Atlanta Motor Speedway announced Tuesday (March 28) that the track will wait until after the 2018 race before any possible repave.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. broke the news Tuesday morning over Twitter, followed by the 1.54-mile speedway confirming the news shortly afterward.
Breaking News: @amsupdates will not repave speedway. Will re-evaluate the track following their 2018 race.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) March 28, 2017
The track, one of eight that Speedway Motorsports Inc. owns on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit, had originally planned to repave the track following its early race weekend this year. However, a petition signed by multiple drivers to delay the repaving process arrived on SMI President/CEO Marcus Smith’s desk on race morning, leading to Smith to announce the scheduled repave would be delayed right before the MENCS race.
“The overwhelming majority have urged us to hold off on paving that we can enjoy at least one more weekend of high-speed slipping and sliding in 2018 before the new surface is installed,” AMS President Ed Clark said.
The surface is the oldest asphalt surface on the schedule, having been repaved in 1997, and only Dover International Speedway’s concrete surface is older among all tracks. Drivers tend to love it due to the multi-groove, loose racing the surface generally provides.
“If this track was repaved, I wouldn’t have passed Kyle Larson for the win because the groove would have been too small, it would have been too easy for him to block my air,” race winner Brad Keselowski said after the race earlier this month. “I wouldn’t have been able to make it, and that’s why drivers love tracks like this, because they open up and they allow us to make moves like I was able to make to win the race. I would not have won this race.”
The speedway hasn’t committed to repaving following next season’s race either, only that it would be re-evaluating the surface following the race weekend.