Monday, September 2, 2013

Kyle Busch Wins in Atlanta

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Kyle Busch outran the rest of the field after a string of late cautions to win the Advocare 500 from Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images
Busch took the lead after his crew got him out of the pits first during a late caution on lap 288.  Busch was able to hold off the field on two quick restarts, and he pulled away from the rest of the leaders over the final 20 laps.

Busch had a bad car to start the race, but he said his team really helped make his car better.
"I can't say enough about this team," Busch told ESPN.  "Their work tonight definitely helped me out a lot.  The car wasn't good to start, but it was good at the end."

The win also helped Busch clinch a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  Last year, Busch missed the Chase, and he said he still remembers the feeling.

"This feels a whole lot different than 365 days ago, I can tell you that," said Busch.

Joey Logano had one of the fastest cars of the race, but he ultimately ended up settling for second place.  While he said he was happy he moved up two spots in the points standings, but he wished he could have won the race.

"Big picture's great, but I just feel like we had the race-winning Ford here," Logano told ESPN.  "It just took us about seven or eight laps to get going.  I just wish [the race] was five or six more laps."

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won his first career pole for the race, but he didn't stay up front for long.  When the green flag fell, Stenhouse was passed on both side by Juan Pablo Montoya and teammate Carl Edwards.  Montoya took the lead, and he pulled away from Edwards.

Logano took the lead for the first time on lap 25.  On lap 26, the competition caution came out due to the amount of rain that had fallen at the track during the weekend.  During the pit stops under the caution, Montoya regained the lead.

Montoya led the field back to the green flag on lap 30, but the race didn't stay green for long.  Jeff Gordon spun his tires on the restart, and the field stacked up behind him.  Kasey Kahne ran into the back of Jimmie Johnson, and it destroyed Kahne's radiator.

The race restarted on lap 39, and Edwards was able to work his way around Montoya for the lead going into Turn 2.  The caution came out for debris on lap 58, and Gordon won the race off pit road.  

Gordon led when the race restarted on lap 63.  On lap 76, the caution came out again for a flat tire from Paul Menard.  

When the race restarted on lap 82, Edwards was the leader.  He led until lap 119, when the leaders began making green-flag pit stops.  After the stops had cycled around, Logano was the leader.  

On lap 139, Clint Bowyer ran down Logano for the lead.  Logano got the lead back when Bowyer made a green-flag pit stop on lap 167, but Bowyer got the lead back again when Logano had to pit for fuel.  Bowyer led until lap 193, when his engine let go to bring out the fifth caution of the night.

Edwards won the race off pit road, and he led the field back to the green flag on lap 199.  Logano worked his way around Edwards for the lead on lap 204.  The caution came back out on lap 207 when Menard spun Denny Hamlin in Turn 3.  

The green flag came back out on lap 212, and Brad Keselowski was able to work his way around Logano for the lead.  

On lap 244, Keselowski's engine started to let go, and Logano was able to take the lead again. 
Logano made a green flag pit stop on lap 253, and that allowed Ryan Newman to take the lead.  Newman pitted on lap 255, handing the lead back over to Logano.  

The caution came back out on lap 288 after a rare mistake from Jimmie Johnson.  Johnson ran into the back of Burton when he tried to come to pit road, and Johnson spun out.  Kyle Busch won the race off pit road, the first time he led all night.

The green flag came out on lap 292, but on lap 293 the caution came back out.  Brian Vickers got loose coming out of Turn 4, and he spun down the frontstretch.  Busch led the field back to the green flag on lap 298, but the caution came out again when Burton got together with teammate Austin Dillon.

The green flag came back out on lap 305, and Busch had to hold off a strong challenge from Martin Truex Jr.  Busch was able to keep the lead, and he went on to win. 

Here are the unofficial results:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Joey Logano
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Kurt Busch
5. Ryan Newman
6. Jeff Gordon
7. Juan Pablo Montoya
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
9. Kevin Harvick
10. Brian Vickers
11. Jamie McMurray
12. Matt Kenseth
13. Marcos Ambrose
14. AJ Allmendinger
15. Greg Biffle
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
17. David Gilliland
18. Carl Edwards
19. Austin Dillon
20. Aric Almirola
21. Danica Patrick
22. Casey Mears
23. David Ragan
24. Paul Menard
25. Mark Martin
26. Dave Blaney
27. Travis Kvapil
28. Jimmie Johnson
29. David Stremme
30. J.J. Yeley
31. Timmy Hill
32. David Reutimann
33. Mike Bliss
34. Jeff Burton
35. Brad Keselowski
36. Kasey Kahne
37. Landon Cassill
38. Denny Hamlin
39. Clint Bowyer
40. Joe Nemechek
41. Josh Wise
42. Michael McDowell
43. Scott Speed

Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Richmond to set the field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.  The final race before the Chase, the Federated Auto Parts 400, can be seen Saturday at 7:30 p.m. EST, only on ABC.

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