(WOMR file photo)
Kyle Busch came on strong over the final 40 laps of Sunday night’s Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and then went on to post his fourth victory of the season.
The victory was the second in the last four races for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver as he won at the Watkins Glen International road course in early August. It was the 28th victory of his Cup career.
Kyle Busch, who started ninth, was forced to stage a late surge because early in the race his car was simply not fast, In fact, he called the car “a joke” at one point.
“It was at first,” he said afterward. “That’s why we race 500 miles, I guess. Man, I don’t know where it came from, but these guys – Dave Rogers (crew chief) – the guys never gave up. They made some really good calls and I commend them. It was all their race today. I appreciate them hanging in there with me, although I was pretty graphic sometimes, but that’s what this sport is all about. I’m passionate about winning, man. I just want to be the best and to be the best sometimes you’ve got to beat the best and that’s what these 42 others competitors out here are – they’re the best in the world.”
With just one race now remaining until the start of the 10-race, 12-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, Atlanta had major implications for the look that the playoff will take.
Kurt Busch surged back into the top 10, and a provisional Chase spot, with his fourth-place result, but Busch leads Gordon, a fellow non-winner this year, by a mere six (6) points.
Earnhardt Jr. gave himself some breathing room with his eighth-place finish. He remains seventh in the standings, 37 points ahead of Gordon in 11th. A finish of 32nd or better at Richmond will lock Earnhardt into the Chase, whether he leads a lap or not.
Engine issues that ended in a catastrophic failure relegated Keselowski to a 35th-place finish, putting him in dire peril of becoming the second defending champion to miss the Chase (Tony Stewart was the first in 2006). Keselowski fell to 15th in the standings, 28 points behind Kurt Busch in 10th. Not even a victory at Richmond will guarantee Keselowski a berth in NASCAR’s 10-race playoff.
The end is very near for those vying for that coveted “wild card” birth. Saturday night, after the Richmond race, the pretenders will be eliminated, and contenders will be on their way vying for the 2013 Sprint Cup championship!
Check out the unofficial results of the Advocare 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!