Kurt Busch has been really trending toward being ready for victory lane as of late, and in Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the 2004 NASCAR Cup Series champion pulled off the win as he held off his brother Kyle Busch down the stretch.
“Hell yeah, we beat Kyle, right?!” Busch joked. “I taught that kid everything he knows, he should be grateful. What a battle. What a genuine awesome old school race track.”
The elder Busch looked to have lost the race on lap 212 when he pitted one lap later than his brother, which handed the lead to Kyle.
But then, as Kyle was navigating lapped traffic, Kurt’s teammate Ross Chastain served as a pick for Kurt, and on lap 236 the No. 1 car zoomed past the No. 18 and Kurt Busch never looked back.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) July 11, 2021
“Shake and bake,” Busch said of Chastain’s move to help him snag the win. “He did his job as a teammate. Ross is going to get a little bit of flack for it, but that’s what it takes to be a good teammate at the right moments. I couldn’t be more proud of Ross Chastain. I’ll pay him back eventually, but for right now, it’s our No. 1 car in victory lane.”
In all, Busch led a race-high 144 laps enroute to his first NCS victory of the 2021 season.
This is Busch’s 33rd-career victory in NASCAR Cup Series competition and it comes at an opportune time as his future is in flux with the sale of Chip Ganassi Racing to Trackhouse for the 2022 season forcing the 42-year old into free agency.
Kyle Busch led 91 laps on the day, but ultimately came up short in a battle against his brother.
Martin Truex Jr. finished third in the race, while Alex Bowman and Ryan Blaney came home fourth and fifth.
Tyler Reddick, Chase Elliott, Christopher Bell, Matt DiBenedetto and Brad Keselowski rounded out the top-10 finishers in the race.
Sunday’s Quaker State 400 was a relatively clean race, as there was only one on-track incident all race long. In a four-wide battle at lap 30, Cody Ware, Anthony Alfredo, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daniel Suarez all made contact.
This sent Ware spinning, and sent Stenhouse and Suarez hard into the inside wall.
Suarez and Stenhouse — who are in the thick of the Playoff hunt — would finish 36th and 37th respectively.
The only other real incident of the day was not for cars, but for the track, which is scheduled to be repaved following this weekend, falling apart. The race was red flagged for almost 20 minutes as the track officials made repairs to the surface at lap 167.