‘Other’ Busch runs away with dominating win
Published 6:14 pm Sunday, March 8, 2009
HAMPTON, Ga. — The other Busch showed his kid brother a thing or two.
Kurt Busch, a former NASCAR Cup champion who’s been overshadowed lately by his sibling Kyle, drove to a dominating victory Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
The 30-year-old Busch led 235 of 330 laps in the Kobalt Tools 500, surviving a couple of scrapes with the wall and a late caution to pull away for a 0.332-second victory over Jeff Gordon.
Pole-sitter Mark Martin, who had become the second-oldest driver in Cup history to claim the top spot in qualifying, had another rough day after blowing engines the two previous weeks. He apparently cut a tire, smashed the wall and finished 31st, 14 laps down.
How dominating was Busch? He led more laps in one afternoon that he did all of last season (164), when his only victory came in a rain-shortened race at Loudon, N.H.
For his victory lap, Busch grabbed the checkered flag and drove backward around the 1.54-mile quad-oval. That might have been the only way anyone would have caught him during the race.
“I’ve got to thank my guys,” he said in Victory Lane. “This car was unbelievable. I guess good things come to those who wait.”
Gordon is still waiting for his first win since 2007, but he remained on top of the Sprint Cup standings after another strong run.
“We’re getting close,” Gordon said. “We’re going to keep knocking on the door until we get to Victory Lane.”
With four laps to go, Robby Gordon shredded a tire to bring out the final caution flag of the race. Carl Edwards gambled as all the leaders ducked into the pits, changing only two tires so he got back on the track first.
Busch and Jeff Gordon both went with four new tires, coming out second and third behind Edwards. But the leader had no chance of holding off Busch on the two-lap finish, watching him blow by on the backstretch and cruise to his 19th career victory. Gordon also got by Edwards, who settled for third.