NASCAR Atlanta: Kurt Busch beats brother Kyle for dramatic victory

Kurt Busch won a brothers duel for the ages at Atlanta, with the older brother getting the better of Kyle for his first win of the 2021 NASCAR Cup season.

Race winner Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro
Race winner Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro
Race winner Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro
Race winner Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro
Race winner Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro

After spending much of the race swapping the lead, Kyle Busch emerged as the leader on lap 213 of 260 following the final round of green-flag pitstops.

But Kurt did not go away and methodically began chasing Kyle back down. With the help of Ross Chastain, Kurt’s Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate, slowing up Kyle, Kurt regained the lead with 25 laps remaining.

Although Kyle mounted several more challenges for the lead, Kurt was finally able to put some distance between the two after Kyle brushed the wall Kurt went on to claim the win by 1.237 seconds.

“Hell yeah, we beat Kyle,” Kurt exclaimed after exiting his #1 Chevrolet. “I taught that kid everything I know. He should be grateful.”

Together, the Busch brothers combined to lead 235 of the 260 laps with Kurt on top on 144.

“That’s the biggest thing, just trying to pull out all the tricks and beat little brother,” Kurt said. “He’s one of the best in our sport. It took a team-mate, in Ross Chastain, but what an incredible car and execution all day.

“We’ve won a race, we’re in the playoffs, no sweat going into September.”

The race was the last on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s current surface and configuration, which is likely to be a good thing, as the race was halted for 20 minutes between Stages 2 and 3 to repair chunks of track that came up on the front straight.

The win is Kurt Busch’s first of the season and locks him into the series playoffs, while four spots in the 16-driver field remain open with five races left in the regular season.

“I just kept asking the track, ‘Hey I’ve been here a long time with you. I missed the race in 2000, then I came back and won in 2002’. To win this, on the old asphalt, I’m very appreciative to win the last race on this asphalt at Atlanta,” Kurt said.

Kyle Busch was not nearly as pleased with Chastain as his brother.

“Would’ve been a hell of a lot better if it wasn’t for some butthead. But it is what it is,” Kyle said. “It was ours to lose and we lost it.”

Martin Truex Jr, who started the race from the rear of the field, fought back to finish third for Joe Gibbs Racing, with Alex Bowman in fourth for Hendrick Motorsports and Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney completing the top five.

Richard Childress Racing’s Tyler Reddick claimed sixth place ahead of last weekend’s winner at Road America Chase Elliott, as Job Gibbs Racing’s Christopher Bell, Matt DiBenedetto (Wood Brothers Racing) and Brad Keselowski (Team Penske) rounded out the top 10.

Results

Cla # Driver Manufacturer Laps Time Gap Interval Laps Led
1 1 United States Kurt Busch Chevrolet 260 2:50'08.275     144
2 18 United States Kyle Busch Toyota 260 2:50'09.512 1.237 1.237 91
3 19 United States Martin Truex Jr. Toyota 260 2:50'10.622 2.347 1.110  
4 48 United States Alex Bowman Chevrolet 260 2:50'17.316 9.041 6.694  
5 12 United States Ryan Blaney Ford 260 2:50'22.246 13.971 4.930  
6 8 United States Tyler Reddick Chevrolet 260 2:50'23.256 14.981 1.010  
7 9 United States Chase Elliott Chevrolet 260 2:50'25.359 17.084 2.103 13
8 20 United States Christopher Bell Toyota 260 2:50'28.302 20.027 2.943  
9 21 United States Matt DiBenedetto Ford 260 2:50'31.305 23.030 3.003  
10 2 United States Brad Keselowski Ford 260 2:50'32.605 24.330 1.300  
11 4 United States Kevin Harvick Ford 260 2:50'32.982 24.707 0.377  
12 3 United States Austin Dillon Chevrolet 260 2:50'33.310 25.035 0.328  
13 11 United States Denny Hamlin Toyota 260 2:50'36.145 27.870 2.835 2
14 23 United States Bubba Wallace Toyota 260 2:50'38.991 30.716 2.846  
15 14 United States Chase Briscoe Ford 260 2:50'39.764 31.489 0.773  
16 17 United States Chris Buescher Ford 260 2:50'40.216 31.941 0.452  
17 41 United States Cole Custer Ford 260 2:50'41.284 33.009 1.068 1
18 5 United States Kyle Larson Chevrolet 260 2:50'41.563 33.288 0.279  
19 22 United States Joey Logano Ford 259 2:50'13.225 1 Lap 1 Lap  
20 24 United States William Byron Chevrolet 259 2:50'14.801 1 Lap 1.576  
21 42 United States Ross Chastain Chevrolet 259 2:50'15.980 1 Lap 1.179  
22 7 United States Corey Lajoie Chevrolet 258 2:50'04.715 2 Laps 1 Lap  
23 10 United States Aric Almirola Ford 258 2:50'15.327 2 Laps 10.612 8
24 43 United States Erik Jones Chevrolet 258 2:50'26.071 2 Laps 10.744  
25 37 United States Ryan Preece Chevrolet 258 2:50'30.867 2 Laps 4.796 1
26 38 Anthony Alfredo Ford 257 2:50'35.899 3 Laps 1 Lap  
27 34 United States Michael McDowell Ford 256 2:50'11.714 4 Laps 1 Lap  
28 6 United States Ryan Newman Ford 256 2:50'25.361 4 Laps 13.647  
29 77 United States Justin Haley Chevrolet 255 2:50'38.185 5 Laps 1 Lap  
30 78 United States B.J. McLeod Ford 254 2:50'27.295 6 Laps 1 Lap  
31 53 United States Garrett Smithley Chevrolet 253 2:50'27.561 7 Laps 1 Lap  
32 15 United States Bayley Currey Chevrolet 253 2:50'29.281 7 Laps 1.720  
33 51 United States Cody Ware Chevrolet 253 2:50'34.997 7 Laps 5.716  
34 52 United States Josh Bilicki Ford 248 2:50'14.982 12 Laps 5 Laps  
35 00 United States Quin Houff Chevrolet 248 2:50'36.991 12 Laps 22.009  
36 99 Mexico Daniel Suarez Chevrolet 243 2:50'24.382 17 Laps 5 Laps  
37 47 United States Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Chevrolet 178 2:48'22.609 82 Laps 65 Laps  

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