Less than one lap after the race's final restart on Lap 123, Busch powered from third to first, passing Hornaday for the lead at the start/finish line. In winning for the first time in eight starts this year — and for the fifth time in his career — Busch became the first repeat winner in the series at Atlanta.
Hornaday finished .971 seconds behind the race winner and regained the series points lead by four over Mike Skinner with three events left on the schedule. Johnny Benson recovered from a pit road speeding penalty to run third. Mark Martin was fourth, followed by Skinner, who restarted 17th after a pit stop on Lap 51 and worked his way back into the top five.
As Benson battled Hornaday for the lead moments after the Lap 123 restart, Busch moved to outside and charged past both competitors by the time he got back to the stripe.
"I just kept it up on the middle of the track, and Johnny gave me some room to the outside," Busch said. "Then I held it to the floor for (eight) laps."
The final 30 laps were interrupted by two cautions, the first of which saved Busch from coming to the pits under the green flag. The yellow flag flew on Lap 105, after a tap from Ted Musgrave sent Jack Sprague's No. 60 Toyota spinning into the inside wall on the backstretch.
The caution was serendipitous for Busch, who had just been black-flagged because the window net on his No. 51 Chevrolet had worked loose from its fasteners. Busch took advantage of a pit stop under yellow to correct the problem, restarted sixth and had worked his way up to third by the time Chad McCumbee's No. 8 Chevy leaked oil onto the asphalt and brought out the fifth and final caution of the race.
"It busted loose completely, and I was trying to hold it up so nobody could tell," said Busch, who was driving with one hand while trying to re-clip the window net with the other. "Luckily, the caution came out, and that saved our race."
Hornaday regained the points lead after losing it to Skinner last week at Martinsville. With Travis Kvapil 320 points behind the leader in third place, it's a two-driver race for the title.
"Ron Hornaday brought a truck home without a scratch," marveled the runner-up. "And look at Skinner. He's back in the top five. We're going to have to race as hard as we can every week to try to stay ahead of him."