Atlanta Motor Speedway is fast, challenging and bumpy, and it also features multiple grooves which allows drivers to race side-by-side. In essence, it's a driver's track – and it's one of Jeff Gordon's favorite tracks to compete on.
So during his weekly media session on Friday, Gordon was passionate about the need to keep Atlanta just the way it is and not fall victim to the latest trend in NASCAR: Tracks unnecessarily repaving their racing surfaces.
"I feel like we're hurting this sport by doing all these repaves," Gordon said.
In the last six years alone, 10 different tracks have undergone some sort of repaving/reconfiguration. However, Atlanta is one of the few tracks which has not – and it's not a coincidence that drivers say the racing on the 1.5-mile oval is some of the best on the Sprint Cup Series circuit.
The frequency at which tracks are repaving their surfaces is "extremely disappointing to me," Gordon said.
"I feel like it's challenging Goodyear in ways that has to be frustrating to them," he said. "It challenges the teams and everybody. And it takes away from putting the best race out there as well.
"We come here and this place is old, worn-out, cracks everywhere and yet every driver loves it. We're slipping and sliding around and the racing is pretty spectacular."
Gordon acknowledged it is sometimes inevitable for tracks to have to resurface for reasons out of their control. Daytona, for example, had issues with a pothole during the 2010 edition of the Daytona 500.
But what Gordon wants is for tracks to be mindful of what a repave will do to the caliber of the racing. And when a repave is necessary, Gordon hoped tracks would use a different material than is currently being used (other drivers have said recent repaves are almost too good because the tracks don't wear out).
"I just hope that more tracks aren't looking at when they're going to repave, but how you accomplish what's out there right now with a repave," Gordon said. "Because we're paving these race tracks with what we're trying to pave highways with – and this is not a highway. This is a racetrack and I think the whole model of repaving needs to be rethought and readjusted.
"I know we can come up with better surfaces – not longer-lasting surfaces – but one that is better for racing and what we're looking for as drivers, teams and fans."