Sunday was the day of the Busch brothers at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Kurt Busch and younger brother Kyle Busch were the best cars in the Quaker State 400. After Kyle led the way and won the first stage, Kurt Busch took over and dominated the second stage. Then the battle for the win came down between the two.
Kyle Busch cycled to the top spot by pitting one lap sooner than Kurt on lap 211. But traffic, including Kurt’s teammate Ross Chastain, allowed Kurt to erase the deficit, and he took the lead for the final time with 23 laps to go.
Over the final 10 laps, Kyle Busch did all he could to mount a comeback. But his one serious charge off Turn 2 was not enough to clear Kurt’s Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.
“Hell yeah, we beat Kyle,” Kurt Busch said of his fourth Atlanta win. “I taught that kid everything he knows; he should be grateful. What a battle. What a genuine, awesome old-school racetrack 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 Gear Wrench 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 great primary sponsors. What a Chevrolet today. Hell yeah.”
Two brothers running two different lanes.
Who pulls it off? pic.twitter.com/Utbi2voXlh
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) July 11, 2021
Kurt Busch now has two wins over his brother when the duo has finished first and second. Kyle Busch also has two wins on Kurt in the scenario.
The victory should clinch Kurt Busch a spot in the playoffs. He entered the weekend holding down the final place on the playoff grid. Atlanta is his 33rd career win in the Cup Series.
Kurt Busch led a race-high 144 laps. Kyle Busch led 91 laps.
“Same as always, we just don’t have enough front end with laps on tires,” Kyle Busch said. “I had everything I had there early and then just smoked it behind the 42 [Ross Chastain], obviously. It shows you what kind of driver he is. And I just tried to fight hard after that when I got passed and had one valiant effort off of [Turn] 2 but didn’t have enough momentum to drag him down and make him go high in 3 and 4, and after that, the tires were smoked.
“Great effort. The Guys gave me a great piece. We were fast. The No. 1 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.”
Martin Truex Jr. finished third, Alex Bowman finished fourth, and Ryan Blaney completed the top five.
Tyler Reddick finished sixth, Chase Elliott seventh, Christopher Bell eighth, Matt DiBenedetto ninth, and Brad Keselowski wound up 10th. Elliott led the first 13 laps after starting from the pole.
The race was red-flagged for 19 minutes before the start of the final stage. Track officials had to do repairs when a chunk of the surface came up near the restart zone.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) July 11, 2021
With Kurt Busch’s win, Reddick is the driver on the playoff grid cutline. Reddick is 96 points ahead of Chris Buescher.
There were 10 lead changes among seven drivers and four caution flags Sunday afternoon.