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NASCAR Cup: Kurt Busch leads brotherly one-two at Atlanta

By AMANDA VINCENT


Sunday’s Quaker State 400, the final race on the current Atlanta Motor Speedway surface, turned into a Busch vs. Busch battle between brothers. Kurt Busch won that battle, his first win of the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season but the fourth of his career at Atlanta.

“Hell yeah, we beat Kyle,” Kurt Busch said. “I taught that kid everything he knows; he should be grateful. What a battle. What a genuine, awesome, old-school race track, and I just asked the track today, last time here on your old asphalt, can I have an old guy win, and she answered. Thank you, Atlanta Motor Speedway. This has been one of those years where I knew we were going to have our back up against the wall with trying to get above the cutoff line and race hard and race smart, and to have GearWrench in victory lane. This is their last race of the year. They’re with us all year, and with Monster Energy, I couldn’t have two greater primary sponsors. What a Chevrolet today. Hell, yeah!”


The brothers combined to lead most of the race, usually running first and second. Kurt Busch was leading the race ahead of the final cycle of green-flag pit stops, but Kyle Busch took the lead when Kurt Busch made his final stop on lap 212.


Kurt Busch retook the lead from his brother for the final time on lap 237 as his Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Ross Chastain held up Kyle Busch.

“It’s just the same as always. We just don’t have enough front end with laps on tires,” Kyle Busch said. “I had everything I had early in the run and, then, just smoked it behind the 42 (Chastain), obviously. It shows you what kind of driver he is. Just tried to fight hard after that when I got passed and had one valiant effort off of two, but didn’t have enough momentum to drag him down and make him go high in three and four, and after that, the tires were smoked. Great effort. Guys gave me a great piece. We were fast. The #1 (Kurt Busch) was definitely better than us today. I just thought I had him. And we did. But racing just didn’t play out that way for us. The Skittles Gummies Camry was fast, and thanks to Toyota, TRD, Rowdy Energy Drink, Interstate Batteries, all the guys. Good piece, just not quite good enough, just needed a tick more.”


Kyle Busch finished second, followed by Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr., who had to drop to the back to start the race because of multiple pre-race inspection failures.


Alex Bowman was fourth, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five.


Both brothers took a stage win. Kyle Busch won the first 80-lap stage after starting the race on the front row and taking the lead from pole sitter Chase Elliott on lap 14.


Kurt Busch moved up to second to his little brother when he passed Kyle Busch’s JGR teammate Denny Hamlin on lap 41.


After stage one, Kurt Busch beat his little brother off pit road for a lead he’d hold for most of the second stage. The only laps he didn’t lead in stage two came during a cycle of green-flag stops about halfway through the stage. Kurt Busch was able to reassume his lead before the cycle of stops completed, passing Ryan Preece on lap 133.


After Kurt Busch claimed the stage-two won on lap 160, the race was red-flagged to fill a pothole, less than a week ahead of a scheduled repave.


When the race resumed, Kurt Busch continued up front.


Finishing sixth through 10th were Tyler Reddick, Elliott, Christopher Bell, Matt DiBenedetto and Brad Keselowski.

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Posted by on July 12, 2021. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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