Kyle Busch claimed victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup 500-mile night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Joe Gibbs Toyota driver emerged in the lead during the final pit stops and was able to control the closing stages. The win puts Busch's place in this year's Chase beyond doubt.
His former teammate Joey Logano made progress through the field during the final stint to take second for Penske, having earlier lost ground with an out-of-sequence pit stop, but Busch remained seven tenths of a second clear up front. Logano's final pass was on Martin Truex Jr., who coped with both a fractured wrist and a melting support cast on his hand to take third in his Waltrip Toyota.
Both Buschs were in the top four, with Kurt recovering from 32nd on the grid to fourth for Furniture Row, helped in large part by an astounding restart in which he made up eight positions to appear in second place.
Juan Pablo Montoya led much of the first part of the race, but faded to seventh in the end. His fall was not as great as Carl Edwards', though, the Roush Fenway man looking dominant at times early on only to slump to 18th, unable to regain the ground lost when he stayed on old tires as most around him took fresh rubber mid-race.
Reigning champion Brad Keselowski's bid to at least be in contention for a second title struck another blow when his Penske Ford ran into engine problems while he was leading. He was eventually classified 35th, leaving him 15th in the points with just Richmond next week remaining before the Chase cutoff.
Championshp leader Jimmie Johnson also had a bad night, getting involved in two collisions and finishing four laps down in 28th. At one stage he looked set to finally lose the lead in the standings, but was granted a reprieve when nearest rival Clint Bowyer had an engine failure when running in a position to jump to the top of the championship.
Polesitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. immediately slumped down the order when the race began and finished 16th.
Results - 325 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 3h42m14.000s
2. Joey Logano Penske Ford +0.740s
3. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota +1.840s
4. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet +3.622s
5. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +4.137s
6. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet +6.658s
7. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet +8.056s
8. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet +8.690s
9. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet +8.907s
10. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota +9.516s
11. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet +10.462s
12. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota +10.988s
13. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford +11.103s
14. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Toyota +11.606s
15. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford +11.852s
16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford +12.780s
17. David Gilliland Front Row Ford +13.822s
18. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford +1 lap
19. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet +1 lap
20. Aric Almirola Petty Ford +2 laps
21. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +2 laps
22. Casey Mears Germain Ford +2 laps
23. David Ragan Front Row Ford +2 laps
24. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet +3 laps
25. Mark Martin Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +3 laps
26. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet +3 laps
27. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota +3 laps
28. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet +4 laps
29. David Stremme Swan Toyota +4 laps
30. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet +4 laps
31. Timmy Hill FAS Lane Ford +4 laps
32. David Reutimann BK Toyota +5 laps
33. Mike Bliss Phoenix Chevrolet +6 laps
34. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet +6 laps
Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 307 laps
Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet 292 laps*
Landon Cassill Hillman Chevrolet 249 laps
Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota 231 laps
Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota 192 laps
Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 114 laps
Jose Wise Front Row Ford 94 laps
Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 92 laps
Scott Speed Leavine Ford 22 laps
* Running again at checkered flag