Kyle Busch got his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season today after overcoming problems throughout the day. Busch started sixth and went straight to the front leading the most laps with domination on the 1.54-mile Atlanta ...
Kyle Busch got his first NASCAR Sprint Cup victory of the season today after overcoming problems throughout the day. Busch started sixth and went straight to the front leading the most laps with domination on the 1.54-mile Atlanta oval.
Although Busch came away with the victory, he did have some struggles as he came in contact with the wall multiple times. Crew Chief Steve Addington kept him calm though, made repairs, and it allowed the Joe Gibbs Racing driver to walk away with the victory while keeping his teammate Tony Stewart and Ford' Greg Biffle at bay.
With his first victory of the season, the younger of the Busch brothers now leads the Cup standings by 73 over Biffle. Ky. Busch has a habit of breaking records and making historic moments, and he furthered that today by giving Toyota its first Cup victory; he also became the youngest Cup winner in Atlanta Motor Speedway history.
One of the most impressive runs of the day was the drive put on by Stewart who started the day in 32nd position and was overtaken by Biffle with less than 20 laps to go. Stewart hung with Biffle though and was able to overtake him ending up in second place; giving Toyota the one-two finish.
Stewart was critical of Goodyear for the choice of tires they brought to Atlanta. "That was the most pathetic racing tire I have ever been on in my professional career," he stated. "I mean they got run out of Formula One, they got run out of CART, the IRL, they got run out of World Outlaw Sprint cars, they got run out of USAC divisions because they couldn't keep up and make a quality enough product. If I were Goodyear, I would be really embarrassed about this weekend and what they brought us here."
Although Stewart was critical of Goodyear, it didn't seem to effect his finishing position. "It didn't keep us from winning the race and how we got to second, I don't know," said Stewart. "I'm really proud our guys on the team and of their pit stops, but it was ridiculous to have to race on a tire like this today. Not at this form of racing, if they can't do any better then that, they oughta just pull out of this sport and save us all a bunch of headaches." Stewart went on to mention that he felt Hoosier or Firestone could do a better job.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third as he continues his impressive start with Hendrick Motorsports. Junior also currently sits seventh in the standings and has been consistent with three top-10 finishes in four races this season.
"Well, we started off awesome, the car was real fast, the tires have spring rates, and we went softer and softer as the day went, but that was the wrong thing to do," Earnhardt said. "So we had to keep adjusting on the car to tighten it up, the thing was just out of control after a few laps, but, I wasn't as bad as most of them all wrecking. That was interesting today to be out there, I'll just say that, I'm glad that is over with."
Earnhardt added more along the lines of the tire situation: "There's a big difference between complaining and stating the obvious. You know, it is what it is. It's not a complaint. It is what it is.
"So I'm sure that Mike Helton or France, I'm sure they'll say what their opinion is. They probably wouldn't like this any more than the drivers did. I don't think for one the race was all that exciting," added Junior. "We couldn't run side by side. We'd wreck, you know. We had to let each other go by. Every time you got beside a guy, you were just like, Take it. I can't go in the corner side by side. No one else out there really could either."
Biffle, who looked to challenge for the win when he passed Stewart with 20 to go, used up his equipment and dropped back to fourth in the final ten laps. "It was great, Kyle Busch owes (Tony) Stewart for that win. Tony sure raced the heck out of us. We had a really fast car, but I burned my tires up racing with Tony. That's what teammates are for. Just used up too much racing, Tony tried to catch Kyle (Busch) but couldn't do it."
Biffle has been having a solid season sitting second in the standings. Biffle has three top-ten finishes in the first four rounds. "We fell victim to those guys at the end, the car was real loose, I had the rear tires burned off of it," he explained. "I just wanted to give the Jackson-Hewitt a good top-five run, so I backed it down and I didn't know (Earnhardt) Jr. was that close. Almost like Las Vegas, I was outside (Earnhardt) Jr. and he wiggled up the track again, but I had a great race and I look forward to Bristol."
Jeff Gordon also battled back to finish fifth place after starting on the pole. Gordon has been frequently fast at the beginning of runs but has dropped off towards the middle and end of the races. A problem that Gordon and Crew Chief Steve Letarte had in their initial season paired together. With Gordon's top-five finish, he jumped eight positions to 15th in the standings.
Clint Bowyer who paced the field early in the race ended up sixth, Kevin Harvick finished seventh and Matt Kenseth finished eighth. With his eight place finish, Kenseth moved into 12th in the standings.
Brian Vickers who nearly missed the race last week at Las Vegas brought his car home in the ninth position. Vickers gained four spots in the points today and now has his #83 Toyota 12th in the owners' standings and is looking to solidly have one Red Bull Toyota constantly in the main event every week after Bristol.
Jeff Burton finished tenth, moving up to fifth in the standings.
Dario Franchitti and the #40 team fell out of the top-35 and need to have a solid finish at Bristol ahead of the #22, #5, #77, #01, and #45 in order to get back into the top-35.
Elliot Sadler in the #19 Dodge had a rough day today bringing out three consecutive cautions and falling to 20th in the Standings.
Sam Hornish Jr. was the highest finishing rookie in 25th and Carl Edwards, who looked to be on a streak for three in a row finished 42nd after a blown engine.
Next week the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Bristol for the Food City 500.