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Kurt Busch backs into Atlanta victory lane

By admin | March 9, 2009

By Richard Allen


Admittedly, the headline of this story could be a bit misleading. To say that Kurt Busch backed into a win this past Sunday at the Atlanta Motor Speedway would imply that he did not deserve the win and just got lucky. In no way is that true.

Busch dominated the Kobalt Tools 500 on the 1.54 mile, high banked track. He led 234 of 330 laps run on his way to victory lane.

However, he almost literally backed into victory lane. Rather than do the usual smoking burnout Busch opted to back his car around the track with the checkered flag waving out the driver’s side window.

Finally, a victory celebration that did not involve spinning around in a smoke filled cloud. Busch has been one to show some originality in his past celebrations.

Now, back to the race itself. Busch’s #2 Dodge was clearly in command from the initial drop of the green flag. Although he was passed both on the track and in the pits on occasion, he was able to regain the lead after short stints back in the pack.

Even though a look at the race statistics may make it appear as though the win came easily, a look at Busch’s car might indicate otherwise. The right side of the #2 Dodge was scraped from coming into contact with the outside wall on more than one occasion. The scraping of the paint was the result of the high line the 2004 Sprint Cup champion used throughout most of 500 mile event.

Jeff Gordon continued his upswing with another strong performance. He led 47 laps, the next highest amount to Busch’s total, on his way to a 2nd place finish.

Gordon continues to lead the Sprint Cup standings.

Busch, for his part, moved from 7th to 3rd in the standings.

Busch’s win allowed the Busch brothers to create a streak of sorts. Kyle Busch won this race one year ago. And as for Kurt’s backwards celebration, it sure beat his snow angel performance at Bristol a few years ago.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

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