The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers spoke, and Speedway Motorsports Inc. obviously listened.
Thus, Atlanta Motor Speedway will not repave its 1.5-mile track as it had planned to do following the Cup race there earlier this season.
In news that was first reported via none other than Dale Earnhardt Jr., the track will put off the repaving for at least a year and will re-evaluate what to do for the long haul following the 2018 race there.
Breaking News: @amsupdates will not repave speedway. Will re-evaluate the track following their 2018 race.
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) March 28, 2017
Track officials later confirmed the news via a press release and a social-media post.
— AtlantaMotorSpeedway (@amsupdates) March 28, 2017
“We appreciate all of the input we have received from key individuals in the NASCAR industry, as well as our customers,” said Ed Clark, Atlanta Motor Speedway president. “The overwhelming majority have urged us to hold off on paving so that we can enjoy at least one more weekend of high-speed slipping and sliding in 2018 before the new surface is installed.”
A number of drivers applauded the move via social media, after several of them had lobbied for the track to hold off on the repave following March races in all three of NASCAR’s three national touring series were held there — the Camping World Truck Series, the XFINITY Series and the Monster Energy Cup Series.
Among those who were pleased was two-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton.
— Matt Crafton (@Matt_Crafton) March 28, 2017
The track was last repaved in 1997.
In its press release, the track said that the decision to hold off this time around was made “after an in-depth review and exhaustive consultations with NASCAR, Goodyear, race teams and drivers.”
Referring to the drivers’ extensive lobbying efforts, the release added that “AMS is a favorite among many active drivers in all three of NASCAR’s national touring series, and a large number of them voiced their preference to delay the new surface.”
The track also confirmed that they will continue an aggressive maintenance program in an effort to maintain the current surface and prevent further deterioration. Additionally, patch work will be completed where necessary. Track officials will reevaluate its condition following the 2018 triple-header NASCAR weekend and determine then whether to resume the resurfacing plans, which called for new asphalt to be laid over top the current surface.