Flawless Kurt Busch Wins Kobalt Tools 500 in Atlanta
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The No 2 Dodge driver was dominant from Lap 1, as he finished the day with an overall 234 laps in the lead. However, he did have to work hard for that No 1 spot in the closing laps of the Sunday race, as he passed Carl Edwards for the lead a couple of laps before the finish line. Edwards eventually lost the runner-up position to Jeff Gordon in the same lap and had to settle for 3rd overall.
Busch's win was the result of great pit strategy from his team, as the Penske Racing driver went out on 4 new tires after the last caution of the day. That enabled him to power to the lead in the final laps of the race and keep a decent margin to Gordon (0.333) to the finish line.
“Good things come to those who wait. We waited over a year and a half with this [new race car] to find a good package, and we've had that to start off 2009,” said the race winner, whose win came the very next weekend after his brother's triumph in Las Vegas. This is the second season in a row the Busch brothers score back-to-back wins in the Sprint Series, following 2008's New Hampshire-Daytona performance.
“That's neat. I've got to hold my end of the bargain, because Kyle's on the gas right now. I've got to thank guys like Carl for racing me clean at the end, and Jeff Gordon was strong all day. When you beat those two kinds of guys here at Atlanta – especially on a day when it reminded me of Darlington...This place will just chew you up and spit you out, and we had the handle,” added Busch.
Gordon, still winless this season, managed to save the day with his second runner-up finish of the year, despite a clutch problem earlier in the race. However, the good performance on Sunday gave him high hopes of finally breaking his winless streak in the Sprint Series, dating back to the end of the 2007 season.
“We're going to win races. We're getting close. That was a heck of a battle there for second -- had a lot of fun. We'll keep knocking on the door until we get into Victory Lane,” said Gordon, who stretched his lead in the overall standings to 43 point over 2nd placed Clint Bowyer.
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