Why is Sunday's NASCAR race historic for Atlanta Motor Speedway?

Jimmy Johson, Dale Jr., Kevin Harvick and the rest of NASCAR's stars gear up for race weekend at Atlanta.

NASCAR's race weekend in Atlanta is always a big event for Atlanta Motor Speedway.

However, Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race is especially historic: It's the last race on the track's current surface.

After 603,600 laps, 929,544 miles driven on the track at NASCAR events, the track is finally repaving. 

The last time Atlanta Motor Speedway's track was paved was 1997. Over time, the track has become known for becoming slick and causing chaos since it has been so long between pavings.

Atlanta Motor Speedway has the second-oldest asphalt in the Cup Series circuit. The track said it has been able to go so long without repaving because of mild winters and meticulous maintenance. But what was once one of the fastest tracks in NASCAR has fallen behind. New pavement will change that.

But drivers have embraced the challenge at Atlanta, so they aren't necessarily looking forward to the repaving. Local driver Chase Elliott grew up around the track because of his father, NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott who is from Dawsonville, Georgia.

"As far as the repave goes, my only thing there is I'm going to enjoy this week," Elliott said. "I'm going to enjoy racing the truck race and the cup race on the old surface."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., who won in Atlanta in 2010, is looking forward to one last go on the slick pavement.

"I expect it to drive good. I love the race track. I know they're going to repave it after this year, so, we'll try to enjoy the last race on that old asphalt, because it's hard to beat the surfaces that get aged like that."

Work on the track will begin after Sunday's race. It is expected to be completed in mid-April. The new pavement will be laid over the current surface. The track layout will remain the same.

PHOTOS | Chase Elliott through the years

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