NASCAR is pleased with the new rules package

Brad Keselowski is among the favorites chosen by two leading oddsmakers to win the Daytona 500

Brad Keselowski is among the favorites chosen by two leading oddsmakers to win the Daytona 500

HAMPTON, Ga. - Neither flu-like symptoms, an overheating engine, or a hard charging Martin Truex Jr. could keep Brad Keselowski from becoming Team Penske's all-time race victor in Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Roughly half the field tested the package last month at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where NASCAR races next week, and the venue that is expected to be a truer indicator of what the competition might look like the rest of the season.

Atlanta Motor Speedway was actually a hybrid of the new rules.

But NASCAR successfully designed a package that slowed the cars and bunched them closer together, which made for intense racing when the field was packed on restarts.

"I saw a fairly entertaining race", NASCAR chief racing officer Steve O'Donnell told reporters after the race. "A lot of work to do, to go back and review it though". Team Penske had Xfinity Series driver Austin Cindric start practice for Keselowski, but Keselowski eventually got in the auto and ran two stints. In his last three appearances at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Larson is averaging a finish of 2.3, and that's without mentioning a victory and runner-up finish at this track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

"Oh, yeah, I forgot about that!" That surpassed a record formerly held by Mark Donohue. Like we said going into this race, we didn't know what to expect either.

"I think any win means a lot, but that's a big number", Keselowski said after the race.

Keselowski jogged from a golf cart into the pre-race driver meeting and predicted he'd go the full 500 miles. Taking all the lines we want.

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Keselowski arrived shortly after, hopped off a golf cart and jogged into the meeting.

"You didn't see any accidents, which maybe the fans like that, but I thought overall the package showed well", Penske said. Spire at the end of past year bought the charter held by defunct Furniture Row Racing - and its one of the most valuable entrants in the series. This time he fell ill late Friday night after surprising fans in the Atlanta infield with beer during their rainy night of partying.

The next restart came with 43 laps to go as Logano led Kurt Busch, but Keselowski quickly sliced through for the top spot. Keselowski received intravenous fluids in the track's infield medical center and vowed to complete all 500 miles. "It was awesome. The Bass Pro/Tracker Boats Toyota was good all day, we just caught an unlucky break there at the end with how that pit stop deal worked out (a Lap 274 caution which left all but two cars one lap down)". "I couldn't be here today without them".

With too few laps remaining, however, Truex Jr. was not close enough to make a pass, and Keselowski took the checkered flag just 0.218 seconds ahead of Truex Jr.to earn his second career Cup Series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway and his second Cup Series victory at the track in the last three seasons.

After the race, Truex's frustration came with lapped traffic that he felt cost him a shot at the win.

"Just a little upset", Truex said.

Busch is set to make his 500th career NASCAR Cup start Sunday. Kyle Larson, his Ganassi teammate, led a race-high 142 laps but was taken out of contention by a speeding penalty. Each of the last nine years, this race has finished under three hours, so this is a quick way to possibly make some money on a Sunday afternoon. His JGR teammate Erik Jones was seventh, pole-sitter Aric Almirola finished eighth.

"This track is unlike any other track, as we all know, with the surface and bumps and the character", said Jimmie Johnson, who leads all active drivers with five previous wins at Atlanta.

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