Thanks to the new Next-Gen NASCAR stock cars and the reconfigured, repaved Atlanta Motor Speedway, this weekend’s Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 is already going to be a tough race. But this weekend’s Cup Series race is going to be even more difficult for Harrison Burton, whose No. 21 NASCAR team failed the pre-race inspection.
Behind all the chaos and noise of every NASCAR race is the NASCAR Rule Book, a strict set of guidelines that all drivers and their teams must follow to be able to compete. And when those rules are broken, NASCAR officials don’t hesitate to throw that book at their teams – figuratively, of course.
The Wood Brothers Racing No. 21 Ford failed not one but two pre-race inspection points ahead of the Cup Series race. As a result, car chief Cody Sauls was ejected from the Cup Series garage. In addition, Harrison Burton and his No. 21 Ford will start the race at the rear of the field.
UPDATE: The No. 6 will also move to the rear for unapproved adjustments.— NASCAR (@NASCAR) March 20, 2022
As usual, these penalties weren’t passed down to only one driver. Keselowski’s No. 6 RFK Racing Ford was also caught with unapproved adjustments in the pre-race inspection. Brad Keselowski and his No. 6 Ford will start at the rear of the field with Burton.
NASCAR Driver Harrison Burton Faces a Challenge at the Atlanta Motor Speedway
Starting at the rear of the field is just the beginning of the challenges Harrison Burton will face in the NASCAR Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 this Sunday. The NASCAR Cup Series drivers are also competing on a completely unfamiliar Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Ahead of the 2022 season, the historic Speedway got a complete renovation, including a repaving and reconfiguring of the track. The oval track now has steeper banking and a superspeedway rules configuration – despite not being a superspeedway. Unlike tracks like Talladega and Daytona, the Atlanta Motor Speedway is only 1.54 miles in length, half a mile short of the length required for a superspeedway classification.
The new configuration also features several width changes, including a narrowing of the turns from 55 feet to a mere 40 foot width. NASCAR veteran Kyle Busch expects this alteration to lead to even more wrecks than usual in the fifth Cup Series race of the season.
“The narrower race track right now lends itself to some hairy moves and things like that,” Busch predicts. “You know, turning off into turn three when you’re running the bottom and you start to load up in the corner, your front end gets tight and you wash up the track and somebody in the middle is holding you down, holding you tight, you make contact, [and] cause a crash.”