NASCAR raced at Atlanta for the final time in this configuration. It came down to the Busch brothers, who battled the entire final stage. In the end, it was Kurt Busch who would celebrate the victory and his lock-in for the playoffs! Here is the NASCAR at Atlanta recap!
The champ, and hometown hero, Chase Elliott (9), had a rough start after starting on pole. He led the first 13 laps until Kyle Busch (18) took command of the lead. The competition caution shook things up for a moment, but it wasn’t long until Kyle was back to the front.
On lap 32, there was a crash on the backstretch. Cody Ware (51), Anthony Alfredo (38), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (47), and Daniel Suarez (99) went three-wide coming out of turn two. Ware, who was on the bottom, got loose and spun down to the inside wall. Up higher, Stenhouse and Suarez came together and also went down the inside wall. Although Alfredo was involved, he managed to get by with little damage.
Kyle Busch continued to lead and dominated the first stage.
The second stage was all older brother, Kurt Busch. He charged his number one Camaro to a second-place finish in the first stage and commanded the lead on the restart. He led 38 laps before coming in for green-flag pit stops. After the full cycle through, he was back in the lead. He led the remaining 30 laps to capture the stage two win in triumphant fashion!
Slingshot engaged! pic.twitter.com/FzxPQIRtjw— Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) July 12, 2021
Before the start of the third stage, the red flag was put out to fix a portion of the front stretch. Sadly showing the age of the track and furthering the reason for its repave. After the track was fixed, we were back to racing! Kurt Busch led the pack to green. But the number 18 was not far behind. 50 laps into the stage, Kyle got around his brother and pulled away. Kurt was starting to have issues with the handling but managed to hang until the last round of green-flag pit stops.
Kyle held the lead for 23 laps but the race wasn’t over just yet. The leaders were making their way through lapped traffic which gave Kurt a few more chances. If Kurt was going to win, he would need a little help from his teammate, Ross Chastain (42). It was time for some Shake ‘n Bake! As the brothers caught up to Chastain, Kurt told his team to tell the number 42 to give him the low line. Chastain held the top in turns three and four, which is where Kyle had been dominant. Kurt saw his chance and took it, and on lap 236, he regained the lead.
Kurt Busch Wins at Atlanta
With only 25 laps to go, Kurt Busch had to hold off his brother to win. Which is just what he did. The last stand for the lead wore Kyle’s tires too much for him to catch back up to Kurt and that was it. Kurt won the final race in Atlanta with this configuration.
The last few races have all been interesting. But this one struck the hearts of many race fans. The stories that this historic track has told over the last 20-something years are plentiful. I think NASCAR gave this old track a good farewell. The battle between the Busch brothers was great to watch.
After the race, Kurt was given a piece of the track to put beside the trophy. In many ways, that chunk of asphalt is just as important as any trophy. As it not only is a memory of Kurt’s win at the track, but all of the historic moments that the track has been a part of.