UPS Game-Changing Moments: Atlanta
September 01, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
NO. 18 PIT STOP GIVES BUSCH WINNING ADVANTAGE
Kyle Busch proved emphatically Sunday night that he knows what to do with a lead when he gets it.
Never mind that Busch didn’t grab the top spot until Lap 288 of 325 in the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, when he beat Ryan Newman and Joey Logano off pit road.
After two more quick cautions, Busch held off the fast-closing Logano during a 21-lap green-flag run to the finish, beating Logano’s No. 22 Penske Racing Ford to the stripe by .740 seconds. Driving with a broken wrist, Martin Truex Jr. ran third, followed by Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.
The victory was the fourth of the season for Busch, who won for the second time at Atlanta and the 28th time in his career.
EXPIRED ENGINES END NIGHT EARLY FOR KESELOWSKI, BOWYER
The race also proved a serious blow to the Chase hopes of reigning Cup champion Brad Keselowski, who finished 35th after his engine expired and dropped to 15th in the series standings, 28 points behind Kurt Busch in 10th.
Logano, off sequence on pit stops, swapped the lead with Clint Bowyer during a 112-lap green-flag run that encompassed two full pit cycles. By lap 190, Bowyer had opened a 7.093-second lead over the Logano’s No. 22 Ford, but Bowyer’s experimental Toyota Racing Development engine erupted two laps later, wiping out the advantage and knocking the No. 15 Camry out of the race.
LOGANO OVERCOMES PIT PROBLEMS TO POST THIRD STRAIGHT TOP-FIVE FINISH
After losing places on pit stops early in the race, the No. 22 team held serve only to have to come back to pit road for three loose lug nuts.
“We overcame a loose wheel early in the race and cycled ourselves back to the lead after all of that,” Logano said.
“I just needed 30 laps of green flag to get all the way up there. When there's a restart after another restart and you don't have a car that's very good on the first five, six laps of a run it didn't give me the greatest opportunity there. But we were catching them the last few laps, just needed five, six more laps to get them, maybe less.”
Logano moved up to eighth in the standings heading to the final race in the regular season as he attempts to make the first Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup of his career.
The NASCAR Wire Service contributed to this report.