Monday, Jan 24

Kyle Busch turns last-place star into third-place finish

Reid Spencer - NASCAR Wire Service Monday, Feb 29 1328
It was an uncharacteristically patient Kyle Busch who started from 39th place Sunday's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Throughout the race, Busch worked his way methodically through the field without using up his equipment, and after the first caution finally occurred on Lap 210, he restarted fourth on Lap 218 with a strong chance at an excellent finish.

On the race's final restart in overtime, Busch believed he had a realistic opportunity to win from the third position, but Jimmie Johnson surged ahead and stayed there until the final caution froze the field.

"Once I cleared the 4 (Kevin Harvick) getting into Turn 1, I thought I had a really good shot at being able to overtake the 48 (Johnson),"

Busch said of the decisive restart. "I tried running a little bit higher than him to see if I could get some momentum off (Turn) 2, and I never really got any. We got down to (Turn) 3 and I was like, 'Well, the only opportunity I have is to try to go out of his wake and not follow him,' and when I did that, man, it landed on the splitter and just plowed up the race track.

"Kind of crazy there when all that went down, but great day for us. (Crew chief) Adam Stevens and the guys did a great job. What else could I say? They fought hard to battle back from being at the tail end and got a good points day out of it, so we'll go on next week and go to Vegas and see if we can't score a win in the hometown."

In fact, it was an excellent points day for Busch, who leads the series standings by three points over Martin Truex Jr.

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