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Kyle Busch Surges Late, Wins In Atlanta

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, September 1 2013

Kyle Busch won for the fourth time this season on Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Brian Lawdermilk)

Kyle Busch came on strong over the final 40 laps of Sunday night’s Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway and went on to post his fourth victory of the season.

The victory was the second in the last four races for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver as he won at the Watkins Glen International road course in early August. It was the 28th victory of his Cup career.

Finishing second was Joey Logano of Penske Racing.

Finishing third was Michael Waltrip Racing’s Martin Truex Jr., who drove the race with a broken right wrist encased in a cast.

Fourth was Kurt Busch of Furniture Row Racing while Ryan Newman of Stewart-Haas Racing was fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Dale Earnhart Jr., Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers.

Kyle Busch, who started ninth, was forced to stage a late surge because early in the race his car was simply not fast, In fact, he called the car “a joke” at one point.

“It was at first,” he said afterward. “That’s why we race 500 miles, I guess. Man, I don’t know where it came from, but these guys – Dave Rogers (crew chief) – the guys never gave up. They made some really good calls and I commend them. It was all their race today. I appreciate them hanging in there with me, although I was pretty graphic sometimes, but that’s what this sport is all about. I’m passionate about winning, man. I just want to be the best and to be the best sometimes you’ve got to beat the best and that’s what these 42 others competitors out here are – they’re the best in the world.”

Rogers said his driver is pretty good, too.

“Even when Kyle gets frustrated,” Rogers said, ?he’s still telling you what the car is doing. He got frustrated and gave me a lot of nothing there for a minute and then two laps later he came over and said, ‘Okay, I didn’t tell you much because I don’t know. I got this going on. I got that going on. I can’t sort it out. I can’t give you good direction, man, just try something.’ So, even when he gets frustrated, he’s still trying to give you good feedback. You know, there’s times you want to say, ‘Hey, calm down,’ but you just look at the stopwatch. At no point – really I didn’t think he got that frustrated tonight, but even when he did if you looked at the stopwatch, he never slowed down. He kept running the same lap times, told me that he was still focused behind the wheel. He was just aggravated the car wasn’t doing what he wanted it to.”

With just race now remaining until the start of the 10-race, 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, Atlanta had major implications for the look that playoff will take.

Kurt Busch surged back into the top 10 – and a provisional Chase spot – with his fourth-place result, but Busch leads Gordon, a fellow non-winner this year, by a mere six points.

Earnhardt Jr. gave himself some breathing room with his  eighth-place finish. He remains seventh in the standings, 37 points ahead of Gordon in 11th. A finish of 32nd or better at Richmond will lock Earnhardt into the Chase, whether he leads a lap or not.

Engine issues that ended in a catastrophic failure relegated Keselowski to a 35th-place finish, putting him in dire peril of becoming the second defending champion to miss the Chase (Tony Stewart was the first in 2006). Keselowski fell to 15th in the standings, 28 points behind Kurt Busch in 10th. Not even a victory at Richmond will guarantee Keselowski a berth in NASCAR’s 10-race playoff.

“What can you do?” Keselowski said after bringing his car to the garage. “You can sit here and be mad and stomp your feet and be a jerk about it, but it just broke. That’s racing. It’s kind of been the story of our year…

“At this point, it’s not frustration. I’m beyond frustration. At this point, you’re just looking above and going, ‘This must be a test to prove how strong we are and what our character is,’ because I believe in the people I’m around. I think they’re doing the right things, but it’s just not working. So I’m (resigned) to this being a test, and I love challenges–and this is going to be one helluva challenge.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race – AdvoCare 500

Atlanta Motor Speedway

1. (9) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 325, $338058.

2. (11) Joey Logano, Ford, 325, $250073.

3. (7) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 325, $201865.

4. (32) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 325, $165235.

5. (17) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 325, $167848.

6. (5) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 325, $171176.

7. (3) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 325, $156504.

8. (8) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 325, $129265.

9. (30) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 325, $156526.

10. (22) Brian Vickers(i), Toyota, 325, $120015.

11. (15) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 325, $136675.

12. (6) Matt Kenseth, Toyota, 325, $144946.

13. (20) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 325, $135419.

14. (13) AJ Allmendinger, Toyota, 325, $133363.

15. (24) Greg Biffle, Ford, 325, $122355.

16. (1) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #, Ford, 325, $163466.

17. (31) David Gilliland, Ford, 325, $120738.

18. (2) Carl Edwards, Ford, 324, $139255.

19. (26) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, 324, $117013.

20. (29) Aric Almirola, Ford, 323, $140091.

21. (21) Danica Patrick #, Chevrolet, 323, $101155.

22. (19) Casey Mears, Ford, 323, $119888.

23. (14) David Ragan, Ford, 323, $117002.

24. (16) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 322, $128721.

25. (27) Mark Martin, Chevrolet, 322, $142405.

26. (36) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, 322, $96930.

27. (37) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 322, $101830.

28. (10) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 321, $142141.

29. (25) David Stremme, Toyota, 321, $93030.

30. (42) JJ Yeley, Chevrolet, 321, $94380.

31. (41) Timmy Hill #, Ford, 321, $92730.

32. (34) David Reutimann, Toyota, 320, $92555.

33. (38) Mike Bliss(i), Chevrolet, 319, $100380.

34. (28) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 319, $100230.

35. (23) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Engine, 307, $145496.

36. (18) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 292, $109930.

37. (39) Landon Cassill(i), Chevrolet, Engine, 249, $91760.

38. (4) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Engine, 231, $105960.

39. (12) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, Engine, 192, $124793.

40. (40) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, Vibration, 114, $78160.

41. (33) Josh Wise(i), Ford, Vibration, 94, $74160.

42. (43) Michael McDowell, Ford, Vibration, 92, $70160.

43. (35) Scott Speed, Ford, Vibration, 22, $66660.

Average Speed of Race Winner: 135.128 mph.

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 42 Mins, 14 Secs. Margin of Victory: 0.740 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 9 for 47 laps.

Lead Changes: 28 among 13 drivers.

Lap Leaders: 0; J. Montoya 1-24; J. Logano 25-26; D. Ragan 27; M. McDowell 28; J. Montoya 29-39; C. Edwards 40-58; J. Yeley 59-60; C. Mears 61; J. Gordon 62-77; J. Montoya 78; L. Cassill(i) 79; C. Edwards 80-121; R. Newman 122-123; J. Logano 124-138; C. Bowyer 139-166; J. Logano 167-172; C. Bowyer 173-192; J. Logano 193-195; C. Edwards 196-200; J. Gordon 201; C. Edwards 202-203; J. Logano 204-212; B. Keselowski 213-243; J. Logano 244-251; R. Newman 252; J. Montoya 253-254; J. Logano 255-289; Kyle Busch 290-325.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): J. Logano 7 times for 78 laps; C. Edwards 4 times for 68 laps; C. Bowyer 2 times for 48 laps; J. Montoya 4 times for 38 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 36 laps; B. Keselowski 1 time for 31 laps; J. Gordon 2 times for 17 laps; R. Newman 2 times for 3 laps; J. Yeley 1 time for 2 laps; C. Mears 1 time for 1 lap; L. Cassill(i) 1 time for 1 lap; D. Ragan 1 time for 1 lap; M. McDowell 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 12 in Points: J. Johnson – 837; C. Bowyer – 809; K. Harvick – 795; C. Edwards – 795; Kyle Busch – 786; M. Kenseth – 768; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 750; J. Logano – 729; G. Biffle – 727; Kurt Busch – 719; J. Gordon – 713; K. Kahne – 70

(This story will be updated shortly)

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, September 1 2013
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