Jeff Burton wins Busch race Kyle Busch led the most laps, but on St. Patrick’s Day it was Jeff Burton who wiped away superstition in his green race car and had the most luck as he won the Nicorette 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Photos by CIA Stock Photo
Busch’s car was the class of the field all day but a crucial mistake by his usually stellar crew – a missed lug nut on Lap 166 following the sixth and final caution of the race – forced Busch from the lead to 17th position on the restart. Burton had come off pit road second to Busch, moved to the front after Busch’s miscue and held on for the win over teammate and reigning series champion Kevin Harvick. Clint Bowyer finished sixth, giving Richard Childress Racing three drivers in the top 10.
The win was Burton’s second consecutive at Atlanta and his second straight this season after he beat Busch in a thrilling last-lap dash at Las Vegas Motor Speedway one week ago. Burton now has 24 wins in his NASCAR Busch Series career, tied for fourth all-time with Tommy Houston.
Busch had captured the pole earlier in the day – his second in a row at Atlanta and his first of the season – and led 143 laps which added to his post-race frustration. He’s led the most laps in three of the season’s first five races but has yet to capture a win.
Busch charged hard from the middle of the pack on the final restart and managed to salvage a third-place finish. Series points leader Carl Edwards was fourth and Busch’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Casey Mears was fifth. Kasey Kahne (seventh), Juan Pablo Montoya (eighth), Matt Kenseth (ninth) and Tony Stewart (10th) rounded out the top 10.
The first short-track race of the season takes place next Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway. ABC will televise the Sharpie Mini 300 – the third consecutive series race on the network – beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.
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