Kyle Busch Slowed by Chastain, Ends 2nd to Brother Kurt

NASCAR NASCAR Cup Series
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By: Zach Catanzareti, Staff Writer

Sunday’s Quaker State 500, the final race on Atlanta Motor Speedway’s current surface, looked to be Kyle Busch’s to lose with 30 laps to go.

And then lapped traffic, particularly Ross Chastain, hit.

Leading marginally over his older brother Kurt, the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota came up on the soon-to-be-lapped Chastain. While running the high side, Busch was blocked by the No.42 driver, allowing Kurt Busch — Chip Ganassi Racing teammate to Chastain — to squeeze by and capture the victory.

For Kyle Busch, the second-place finish marks the fourth 1-2 finish for the Busch brothers in the Cup Series. The scorecard now standing at 2-2.

“It was great. Until you finish second,” Kyle said of racing Kurt. “We ran up front most of the day, won the first stage, second in the second stage, second at the end. We came off pit road with the lead on the final stop, I thought we had the race in hand. Just gave it away.”

Leading 91 laps, Sunday was Busch’s most dominant day of 2021. Feeling good about holding off brother Kurt for the checkered, Chastain’s move ended all those hopes.

“There is no question,” he said when asked if Chastain’s move was intentional. “He turned right in order to get dead-right in front of me. For a whole two laps, I just killed the tires to get turned underneath him. You can’t just change direction.

“When I tried to change direction, he watched his mirror and changed direction with me. So, you stomp on the brake and air-block. It’s pathetic. It’s racing, you can do whatever you want. It’s just going to come back on you.”

With four straight podium finishes — six top fives in the last seven races — Busch has noticed an upward tick. all toward catching the dominant Chevrolet/Hendrick Motorsports camp.

“It’s hard to tell,” he said. “From the spring, I would say yes. I don’t know where the No. 5 [Kyle Larson] was, he was top three, then he had a penalty at the end. Us being where we were, it was pretty good. It was pretty fun to run up there and be contenders all day long.

“It just sucks we finished second. You have a goal in mind and you want to get there. You finish second, that ain’t helping your goals.”

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