Kurt and Kyle Busch are among the top sibling duos in NASCAR Cup Series history, and the racing deities decided in favour of the elder Kurt in Sunday’s Quaker State 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The two battled each other throughout the final stage, but Kurt, with some help from Chip Ganassi Racing team-mate Ross Chastain, was able to get it done and complete the Busch 1–2 finish.
Sunday’s race, the last on the current Atlanta configuration before it is redesigned ahead of the 2022 season, was dominated by the brothers as they led a combined 235 of 260 laps, with Kurt responsible for 144. Georgia native and pole-sitter Chase Elliott was the only non-Busch to lead double-digit laps as he had thirteen to begin the day.
Kyle began the Busch run when he took the lead from Elliott on lap 14 and went on to win the first stage ahead of Kurt, Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr. (who started at the back after failing pre-race inspection twice), and Kevin Harvick. The lone incident of the stage came on lap 32 when Cody Ware got loose in turn two while running four-abreast with Anthony Alfredo, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Daniel Suárez; Stenhouse and Suárez then made contact and spun into the inside wall on the backstretch, with Alfredo squeezing by to escape damage.
The older Busch dominated the second stage, only briefly surrendering the lead to Aric Almirola; as Almirola led, reports of rain hit the track but did not result in a red flag. Ironically, one would occur anyway at the end of the stage when the aging track surface, which had not been replaced since 1997 and was only changing in 2022 with the reconfiguration, broke off on the frontstretch and a delay was needed to fill it back in. After an approximately twenty-minute pause that incidentally coincided with the full duration of the Euro 2020 Final’s penalty kick shootout, the segment ended under yellow as Kurt took the stage win ahead of Kyle, Bowman, Larson, Denny Hamlin, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Austin Dillon, and Truex.
Stenhouse became the race’s lone retirement when he exited with a suspension failure shortly after the final stage began. Kurt and Kyle traded the lead throughout the segment before the two’s duel encountered lapped traffic; one of these cars was Kurt’s team-mate Chastain, who committed to the high line on lap 236 and blocked Kyle’s progress on Kurt. Kyle was miffed at Chastain’s action, saying in a post-race interview that it “shows you what kind of driver he is.”