0

Kurt Busch drives his car to Victory Lane at AMS

By Doug Gorman

dgorman@news-daily.com

The 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season could be turning into the Kurt and Kyle Busch show.

After Kyle Busch won last week's race in Las Vegas, brother Kurt took his own trip to Victory Lane Sunday in Hampton, winning the Kobalt 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway in a race featuring plenty of drama.

Despite dominating most of the day, Kurt almost had the race stolen from him after the final caution flag came out with just six laps to go, putting a possible dent in his victory plans.

After going to the pits to refuel during the final caution flag, Busch lost the lead for a short time on the race's restart, but he overtook Carl Edwards and Jeff Gordon with a little more than a lap to go,

"It's great to be back in Victory Lane," he said. "We have to take it one race at a time. The tracks here in the south just chew up tires, and we having confidence in the pit crew was important, I think they did a great job today. We had good pit stops and a good car."

Jeff Gordon, who came into Atlanta as the Sprint Car Series points leader, finished second and Edwards took third.

"We have turned the corner," Gordon said. "I think this team is going to win some races. Of course, I wanted to win today, but we have been close. I am not going to say we are frustrated, because we have been running hard."

Busch, who led the most laps at the Kobalt 500, keeping his car out front in the 47-car field for 234 laps, won the first time this year.

A year ago, it was his brother Kyle's time to shine in Atlanta after he took the checkered flag in the Kobalt 500.

The late caution flag spoiled Brian Vickers chances to overtake Busch at the end of the race. Before the 11th and final caution flag of the race, Vickers was running second, but finished fifth when the dust settled.

Gordon took the lead on lap 204 and raced in front until Busch regained control of the Kobalt 500 on lap 251 after passing Gordon on the high side in turn No. 4.

Busch led the race six different times, including at the end when it counted most after regaining the lead on the last lap.

Although Gordon is still looking for his first win this year, the former points champion, led for 47 laps Sunday.

Edwards, who always races well in Atlanta, had a chance to win for the fourth time in his career at AMS, led 28 laps during Sunday's race.

"We had a good race, we ended up third, and that's the best case for us," Edwards said.

Local drivers David Ragan, Reed Sorenson and rookie Joey Logano were hoping for better luck in their return to Atlanta. The three drivers all started their racing career in AMS' Thursday Thunder racing series as children, and all now compete on NASCAR's top series.

Ragan, who started at the back of the field after being forced to replace an engine, finished the day 19th, Joey Logano ended the day 30th.

"Compared to where we started, it was a good day for our UPS team. It's not where we wanted to be, but we did the best we could."

Sorenson had the shortest day of the local drivers after an accident knocked him out of the race just three laps into the event. He finished the day 32.

The Woodward Academy graduate told his pit crew it sounded like something broke.

"I'm not sure what happened, Sorenson said. "I don't think it was a tire. It may have been something in the steering. (The car) went left a little bit and then it felt like something broke.