Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin expressed their concern for the track changes at Atlanta Motor Speedway and hit out at the authorities for not taking drivers’ opinions.
The track is set to host a NASCAR Cup Series race this weekend, which is the track’s second this season. It was announced that the renovations at the track would include an increase in banking in the turns from 24 to 28 degrees. Additionally, the repaving portion of the project is set to be decreased by the width of the 1.54-mile track from 55 feet to 52 on the front stretch, 42 on the backstretch, and 40 on the turns.
All new for '22!
The next generation of Atlanta Motor Speedway!
— Atlanta Motor Speedway (@amsupdates) July 6, 2021
While the track owners have justified the decision by claiming that the changes would create entertainment and please the fans, Larson stated that the drivers know better than the fans on any such renovations.
“I wish they would talk to everybody about it,” Larson said on a Zoom call. “We have more experience than the fans, you know. I’ve raced hundreds of different racetracks. I feel like we have a better understanding of what really makes good racing. But, you know, fans like crashing and a 40-foot wide surface is going to keep us tight together, so maybe that’s going to accomplish the good racing that we think it is.”
Larson was caught off guard by the narrower surface, but not the increased banking.
He also believes drivers have a good idea of what good racing is, but "fans like crashing and a 40' surface is going to keep us tight together and accomplish the "good racing" they think it is." pic.twitter.com/2nf3KapKJg
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) July 6, 2021
Hamlin too hit out at the authorities by saying that the drivers’ opinions were not taken to make such renovations.
“With all due respect. This same group (SMI) has reconfigured Texas, Kentucky, Bristol with 0 driver input,” Hamlin tweeted. “One of those lost a race, other one we don’t race anymore, and last one we put dirt over it. But hey, what do the drivers know.”
While as a fan, it is understandable to ask for entertainment, but it is sure that the drivers know better about what is better for their safety, which is more important than the race.