Racingone Rewind: Atlanta
March 9, 2009 | 12:14 P.M. EST
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Kurt Busch dominated the field and led 234 of the day's 330 laps to score his first win of the season in Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Photos
Keys to Victory Lane
Busch had to work around Carl Edwards for the lead on a green-white-checkered finish but was able to take the top spot and hold off Jeff Gordon for his second career win at Atlanta. Complete Results
Zero to Hero
Edwards started 29th and tried a two tire stop on the day's final stop for a run at the lead, but had to eventually settle for a third-place finish.
Rookie of the Race
Joey Logano had an eventful day with a few trips into the wall but still brought home his Home Depot No. 20 in the 30th spot.
Martin Truex Jr. was in a hospital Saturday night passing a kidney stone and came back to finish 10th. Matt Kenseth took the green flag 30th and posted a 12th-place finish. And A.J. Allmendinger started 38th and came home 17th.
Chase for the Cup
Gordon leads Clint Bowyer by 43 points while Busch is now third 46 out of the lead.
Kobalt Tools 500 Loop Data Leaders
• Average Running Position: Kurt Busch - 1.5
• Fastest Early In a Run: Kurt Busch - 172.059 mph
• Fastest Late In a Run: Brian Vickers - 162.651 mph
• Fastest Laps Run: Kurt Busch - 81
• Fastest on Restarts: Kurt Busch - 175.042 mph
• Most Passes During Green Flag Conditions: David Stremme - 96
• Laps In Top 15: Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne - 330
• Quality Passes: Carl Edwards - 36
• Speed in Traffic: Carl Edwards - 166.848 mph
• Busch captured his 19th career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win in his 296th career start. Detailed Active Driver Wins
• Busch won the 60th race for car owner Roger Penske. Detailed Active Car Owner Wins
• Busch became the 11th driver to win at Atlanta Motor Speedway from the second position. He was the 352nd driver overall to win a race from that position. Starting Position Facts
• Busch won the seventh race for Dodge at AMS. All-Time Manufacturer Wins
• Jeff Gordon (second) posted his 22nd top-10 finish in 34 races at Atlanta. Gordon's winless streak is now at 45 races – the longest of his career.
• Carl Edwards (third) posted his eighth top-10 finish in 10 races at Atlanta. This is his best finish thus far in 2009.
• Kevin Harvick (fourth) posted his first top-five finish at AMS since 2001.
• Brian Vickers (fifth) posted his first top-five finish in 12 starts at AMS.
• Clint Bowyer (sixth) posted his fourth sixth-place finish in seven starts at AMS.
• Kasey Kahne (seventh) posted his first top-10 finish in 2009.
• Tony Stewart (eighth) posted his third eighth-place finish of the 2009 season in four starts.
• Jimmie Johnson (ninth) posted his 11th top-10 finish in 16 starts at AMS.
• Martin Truex Jr. (10th) posted his first top-10 of the 2009 season and second career top 10 at AMS in nine starts.
• The 330-lap race saw 13 lead changes among eight drivers and an average speed of 127.573 mph.
• Eleven caution flags were thrown for 54 laps.
• The Kobalt Tools 500 lasted 3 hours, 59 minutes, 01 seconds.
• Beautiful weather and another great race but still lots of empty seats, so we think Atlanta's days as a two Cup race track are numbered.
• Kudos to the Kobalt Tools marketing manager who gave the command Sunday in the Kevin James school of starting your engines.
• What was that knucklehead crew guy thinking running out into the infield after that errant tire? Even Digger knows not to be that dumb.
• Brian Vickers will win a race this season.
• Tony Stewart should have bought the No. 8 from the old DEI with the finishes he's been posting.
• Ya think Mark Martin is looking longingly at his rocking chair right about now?
• Tough day for Joey Logano including getting booted by his former mentor Stewart. Welcome to the show kid!
• The Bobby Labonte magic is wearing off.
• So is Michael Waltrip Racing's.
• "It's something me and my buddies brewed up after a few too many Miller Lites." - Kurt Busch on his victory lap celebration.
• "We ended up third and that was probably our best-case scenario." - Carl Edwards
• "I'm kind of baffled by it." - Jeff Gordon on the empty seats.
• "I was really hoping it would stay green until the end." - Brian Vickers
• "It was a long day's work." - Kevin Harvick on coming back from two laps down.
On a scale of one to 10 juicy Georgia peaches, we'll give Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 a six. Some good side-by-side racing and almost a typical Atlanta close finish, but overall some dull stretches on a nice day that should have had about 20,000 more fans in the stands. Now it's off weekend number one before we head to Thunder Valley and Bristol Motor Speedway on March 22.