Kyle Busch Takes Xfinity Series Win at Atlanta

Kyle Busch celebrates in the winners circle
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

There are not a lot of tracks on the NASCAR Xfinity Series that Kyle Busch has not won at. Going into Saturday, Atlanta Motor Speedway was one of them.

But not anymore.

After starting from the pole, Busch held off a hard charge over the closing laps from Kyle Larson to score the win in the Heads Up Georgia 250, nabbing Busch his 77th career Xfinity Series win, and his first at the Hampton, Georgia raceway.

Busch said it meant a lot to score the Atlanta victory.

"It's been a while, but certainly means a lot just to accomplish some of my goals that I have in racing. To come out here and to do this today and to beat Kyle Larson – this must be his favorite tracks or one of the just being able to move all over this race track and he's really good here too. Real proud of our team."

Over the final 12 laps, Larson found a groove that saw him run high in turns one and two and low in turns three and four. He would go from a second and a half deficit to just over half a second. The distance would fluctuate over the final ten laps as the two leaders worked lap traffic. In the end, Larson came up .466 of a second short.

Busch said he was concerned about Larson over the closing laps.

"I actually thought that last run was going to be too long for our car, which was better for (Kyle) Larson's car. We made some adjustments. (Chris) Gayle (crew chief) did a good job making some adjustments to our car and it helped me. It helped me definitely on the front side of the run for about the first 20 and I don't think it hurt me from there on to the end of the race, but Larson was just better than us. He kind of closed and closed and closed and lap traffic – you know you're trying to figure it out – they were really nice to me."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Eric Jones had to battle back from an early race penalty to finish third. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver started alongside Busch on the front row, but jumped the start, drawing a drive through penalty from NASCAR. After working his way back through the field, the choice to take on tires on the final caution with 35 laps gave Jones the opportunity to power his way into the top three.

Jones said the penalty just made his day longer.

"I knew we had the car to do it, but it was just a matter of not burning the tires off while we were doing it and trying to get back up there," Jones said. "Just made it a long day for the Hisence Camry, but overall a good day, a nice rebound from Daytona and a good way to get the season on track and get headed in the right direction."

While the day belonged to Busch, as he led 119 of the 163 laps, other pre-race favorites suffered setbacks that hindered their ability to contend for the win. Brad Keselowski started sixth and led 28 laps. But his day took a bad turn when an air hose stuck during a green flag pit stop on lap 100, Keselowski dropped him back in the running order. He would finish sixth.

"We just weren't as strong as we wanted to be and needed to be," Keselowski said afterwards. "We'll work on it from there and try to find a little bit more speed."

The day was even worse for defending race winner Kevin Harvick. After starting ninth, he quickly moved to second by lap eight, and looked to be a threat for the victory.

Harvick was running in sixth position when he hit pit road for an overheating issue on lap 73. He would return to the pits seven laps later, still overheating. His crew removed all the tape from the grill, and he returned to the track several laps down. In the end, he would finish 12th, one lap down.

While the race was fairly clean on track, with five cautions slowing the action for 21 laps, the scariest moment came on pit road, when Darrell Wallace, Jr. was sent spinning after contact from Josh Reaume. Reaume was turning to go the garage area, not realizing Wallace, Jr. was passing him on the inside. The contact sent Wallace, Jr. sliding sideway through several pit stalls before coming to rest in the grass. Fortunately, no crew members were hurt, and Wallace, Jr. was able to drive away.

Paul Menard finished in fourth, with Ty Dillon in fifth.

Keselowski, Daniel Suarez, Justin Allgaier, Elliott Sadler and Jeb Burton rounded out the top ten.

Sadler leads Suarez in by three points in the championship standings as the Xfinity Series heads for Las Vegas Motor Speedway next weekend.

More to follow

Race Results

Pos. # Driver Make Start Laps Led Status Points
1 18 Kyle Busch Toyota 1 163 119 Running 0
2 42 Kyle Larson Chevy 4 163 0 Running 0
3 20 Erik Jones Toyota 2 163 0 Running 38
4 2 Paul Menard Chevy 11 163 0 Running 0
5 3 Ty Dillon Chevy 6 163 0 Running 36
6 22 Brad Keselowski Ford 7 163 28 Running 0
7 19 Daniel Suarez Toyota 3 163 0 Running 34
8 7 Justin Allgaier Chevy 12 163 15 Running 34
9 1 Elliott Sadler Chevy 16 163 0 Running 32
10 43 Jeb Burton Ford 15 163 1 Running 32
11 33 Brandon Jones Chevy 19 163 0 Running 30
12 88 Kevin Harvick Chevy 10 162 0 Running 0
13 62 Brendan Gaughan Chevy 9 162 0 Running 28
14 48 Brennan Poole Chevy 5 162 0 Running 27
15 16 Ryan Reed Ford 17 162 0 Running 26
16 39 Ryan Sieg Chevy 8 162 0 Running 25
17 51 Jeremy Clements Chevy 14 162 0 Running 24
18 6 Darrell Wallace Jr Ford 18 162 0 Running 23
19 14 J.J. Yeley Toyota 22 162 0 Running 22
20 11 Blake Koch Chevy 13 161 0 Running 21
21 28 Dakoda Armstrong Toyota 20 160 0 Running 20
22 01 Ryan Preece Chevy 21 159 0 Running 19
23 24 Corey Lajoie Toyota 23 159 0 Running 18
24 0 Garrett Smithley Chevy 26 159 0 Running 17
25 90 Mario Gosselin Chevy 32 158 0 Running 16
26 78 B J McLeod Ford 29 157 0 Running 15
27 70 Derrike Cope Chevy 34 156 0 Running 14
28 4 Ross Chastain Chevy 24 152 0 Running 13
29 25 Chris Cockrum Chevy 40 152 0 Running 12
30 74 Mike Harmon Dodge 36 151 0 Running 11
31 15 Cody Ware Chevy 37 151 0 Running 10
32 52 Joey Gase Chevy 33 127 0 Suspension 9
33 07 Ray Black Jr Chevy 27 113 0 Running 8
34 13 Josh Reaume Dodge 38 87 0 Suspension 7
35 97 Harrison Rhodes Chevy 25 68 0 Rear Gear 6
36 40 Carl Long Toyota 30 29 0 Handling 5
37 89 Morgan Shepherd Chevy 39 25 0 Overheating 4
38 99 Todd Peck Ford 35 15 0 Engine 3
39 44 David Starr Toyota 28 7 0 Engine 2
40 10 Jeff Green Toyota 31 1 0 Electrical 1

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