Kyle Busch Gives Toyota First Sprint Cup Win
For the first time since 1954 a foreign car manufacturer has won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series as Kyle Busch claims the win at Atlanta for Toyota, placing an exclamation mark on Toyota's NASCAR experiment.
Gibbs Racing teammate Tony Stewart was second, followed by Dale Earnhardt, Jr, Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon.
"Go or Blow!" That's Kyle.
And he did just that Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Start to finish, the young driver from Las Vegas kept his foot in the gas to win the Kobalt Tools 500. He became the first driver to win a NASCAR Craftsman Truck and a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in the same weekend.
He turned back a number of challengers during the sunny afternoon, including runner-up and teammate Tony Stewart in another Toyota.
It was a grueling Sunday for NASCAR's best drivers, who fought the steering wheel all day trying to get a handle on the slippery Atlanta surface.
Busch's win was the first for one of the really nice guys in the sport, crew chief Steve Addington, who worked his way through the NASCAR ranks to his current position. Addington worked in several of the sport's development tours en route to matching up with one of the sport's youngest stars. In fact, Busch became the youngest winner ever for this event.
Trailing the two Gibbs drivers was popular Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who said it was the hardest he has ever driven and added, "but that's the way it should be."
Rounding out the top 10 were Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Brian Vickers and Jeff Burton.
The ninth-place finish for Vickers came on the heels of not qualifying for last week's race in Las Vegas. His Red Bull Toyota fought back from being a lap down to crack the top 10.
It was a miserable day for Elliott Sadler, who caused three caution flags in a row when his car lost grip and spun.Carl Edwards looked to make it three Sprint Cup wins in a row and appeared to be in good shape to do so, taking the lead on lap 168, but with just 50 laps to go blue smoke billowed out from Edwards’ Ford, ending his day.
“You can’t ever say what was going to happen” said Edwards after climbing from his car, “but I think we were going to win that race, I was just having a blast”.
Busch moved from the sixth starting spot to second place in just a few laps but even Busch, who likes to run wide open every lap, couldn't keep up with Earnhardt's torrid pace.
J.J. Yeley suffered the first penalty of the cold, sunny afternoon when he entered pit road too fast for an unscheduled stop.
A caution for debris on the 38th lap slowed the field but Earnhardt had lapped half the field at that point.
On the restart, Earnhardt picked up where he left off.... at the front of the pack. Young Busch was next in line, but dropped back a considerable distance.
Edwards was next, trailed by Harvick, Gordon, Denny Hamlin, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer, Daytona 500 winner Ryan Newman, Martin Truex, Jr. and defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, who had his worst day in recent memory at Las Vegas last Sunday when he was never a contender.
Busch took the lead on the 60th lap when Earnhardt complained about losing the handle on his machine. The field spread out all around the 1.5-mile tri-oval at this point in the race.
While Busch sped away to a big lead, Earnhardt dropped to third when Edwards sailed past him. Edwards, however, couldn't hold the position. Both Earnhardt and Harvick passed him within a few laps.
Another caution for debris slowed the action at 84 laps and all the leaders pitted again.
Busch took over again when racing resumed and Hamlin took over the second spot behind him. Earnhardt was third, Kevin Harvick fourth and Gordon fifth.
It was Busch and Earnhardt again with Harvick, Bowyer and Gordon behind them. Stewart, who started 32nd, had worked his way up to sixth position.
On lap 129, Harvick moved past Earnhardt for second place. Earnhardt dropped to fourth behind Bowyer.
The last time a foreign manufacturer won in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series was 1954 when Al Keller won for Jaguar at a race in Linden, NJ. Keller's only other NASCAR win also came that year, but while driving a Hudson at Ogelthorpe Speedway at Savannah, GA.
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