With New Rules Package, Harvick Hopes for More Happy Times at Atlanta

Kevin Harvick isn’t sure how to tackle Atlanta Motor Speedway in his bid for a second consecutive Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 victory. The 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion led a race-high 181 laps in winning last year’s event, but Harvick faces a different challenge this year.

Sunday’s 500-miler brings with it the introduction of NASCAR’s newest rules package for tracks longer than one mile – a form of which debuted in the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race and Monster Energy Open at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The changes for this year, designed to promote more wheel-to-wheel action, include an eight-inch by 61-inch rear spoiler, a 37-inch-wide radiator pan that tapers to 31 inches and a front splitter with a two-inch overhang.

“It’s obviously very different than it was in the past,” Harvick said, “and we didn’t really practice because we had some steering issues. … We don’t have any idea of what we want yet. That’s good for everybody watching, because once the engineers and everybody on the ground wrap their arms around it, they can build a system. Right now, we don’t have anything to evolve because we have questions, but zero answers.”

The Stewart-Haas Racing veteran made just two laps around Atlanta’s challenging, high-speed, 1.5-mile quad oval in Friday’s first practice session. His second lap was his best: a 31.444-second, 176.313-mph run.