Recap: Big Brother Kurt Dominates At Atlanta HAMPTON, GA. -- The other Busch won this one. Big Brother. Kurt. The Busch that won a championship before his little brother hit the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series scene a few years ago. Last week in the...
Recap: Big Brother Kurt Dominates At Atlanta
HAMPTON, GA. -- The other Busch won this one. Big Brother. Kurt. The Busch that won a championship before his little brother hit the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series scene a few years ago.
Last week in the Busch Brothers' hometown, Las Vegas, it was young Kyle winning the race.
Sunday, in Atlanta, it was Kurt's day to shine and shine he did. Literally driving the wheels off his Miller Lite Penske Dodge, Kurt led a whopping 234 of the 325-lap Kobalt Tools 500, banging into the outside retaining wall several times in the process.
It was the elder Busch's first win of the season and he did it in very convincing fashion.
When the 10th caution of the day waved with just three laps remaining and Busch leading, it set the stage for an exciting green, white, checkered flag finish. All the lead cars pitted for tires and Carl Edwards beat Busch and Jeff Gordon back on the track.
Busch, however, was not to be denied as he threw caution to the wind and zoomed around Edwards in the first turn of the restart. Gordon also passed Edwards to claim second spot. Edwards was next, trailed by Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers.
Rounding out the top 10 were Clint Bowyer, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Martin Truex, Jr.
Winner Busch scraped the outside retaining wall several times en route the victory, which was indicative of just how hard he was racing. Runner-up Gordon also dodged several close calls to finish second.
Driver after driver came out of turn four sideways, Running loose and sliding on the slippery surface at 180 miles an hour.
Gordon even said the track reminded him of Darlington, where drivers sliding is a regular part of the dance.
The weather for the race was in stark contrast to last years snow, nearing perfection when the 43-car field broke the balmy stillness with a mighty roar shortly after three o'clock.
This one, a 500-miler over Atlanta Motor Speedway's one-and-a-half mile, super-fast tri-oval, was billed as anybody's race but 50-year-old Mark Martin won the pole and streaked away from the field at the drop of the green flag.
The field didn't get very far before Reed Sorensen's Dodge turned right into the first turn wall, prompting the first caution of the afternoon without a single lap being completed. Something apparently broke on Sorensen's car.
When the race resumed on Lap 5, Martin took up where he left off. Kurt Busch, however, passed Martin before they got to Turn 1.
Bobby Labonte lost the handle on his Ask.Com Ford on Lap 11, bringing out another caution. With just 12 laps complete, Busch led, followed by Martin, Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle, Denny Hamlin, Juan Pablo Montoya, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Ryan Newman.
The race resumed on Lap 15 with Newman in front after a quick stop. Busch regained the lead several laps later.
Busch was still leading at Lap 62 after everyone made green flag stops. Hamlin was second.
It was a caution-filled afternoon with 10 slowdowns, including one ill-timed safety caution when a crew member ran after an errant tire out in the track's tri-oval area. NASCAR threw a caution under the circumstances, which changed the entire strategy of the race for many of the teams.
A third and ill-timed safety caution flew after a loose tire off Marcos Ambrose's Toyota rolled out into the tri-oval grass, which put only six cars on the lead lap due to pit stop sequences and changed the entire strategy of the race for many of the teams. NASCAR was forced to throw the caution when Jimmy Watts, a member of Ambrose's pit crew, ran out on the tri-oval to retrieve the errant tire, putting himself in harm's way.
Johnson was the leader after the caution with Clint Bowyer, Edwards, Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. and Hamlin in tow. Martin and everyone else were at least one lap down at this point due to the runaway tire retrieval creating an unsafe condition.
Another caution at Lap 102, when Bobby Labonte spin through the tri-oval, slowed the field and put an additional four cars back on the lead lap. Martin, Brian Vickers and Gordon had passed the leader, Edwards. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the recipient of the free pass. Vickers was placed at the rear of the field for exiting pit road too fast.
When the green waved on Lap 107, Kurt Busch was leading. Edwards was next, followed by Bowyer, Johnson, Truex, Gordon, Hamlin, Martin, Earnhardt and Vickers.
Another caution fell on Lap 157 for debris on the track and Earnhardt once again was the beneficiary. At this point in the race, Kurt Busch was clearly the man to beat. Gordon was behind him in second by the halfway point of 163 laps and teammate Johnson was next. Behind them on the lead lap were Edwards, Bowyer, Martin, Vickers, Hamlin, Truex and Earnhardt Jr.
Following Atlanta Jeff Gordon leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings with 634 points. Clint Bowyer (591) is in second followed by race winner Kurt Busch (588). Carl Edwards (547), Matt Kenseth (546), Tony Stewart (521), Kyle Busch (514), Kevin Harvick (511), Kasey Kahne (484), Greg Biffle (480), Brian Vickers (477), and David Reutimann (475) round out the top-12.