2010-03-11 / Sports

Kurt Busch Wins In Overtime At Atlanta

By Gerald Hodges THE RACING REPORTER

Kurt Busch, winner of Sunday’s Atlanta Cup race gets a hug from his wife, Eva. Kurt Busch, winner of Sunday’s Atlanta Cup race gets a hug from his wife, Eva. HAMPTON, Ga. – Kurt Busch halted Jimmie Johnson’s domination of the 2010 NASCAR Cup season as he won Sunday’s Kobalt 500 in a double overtime shootout.

“We were able to get it right today,” said Busch. “It feels like I had to win the race two or three times.”

Busch led 129 laps and moved from 19th to 10th in Chase points.

The first green-white-checkered restart was set up after Carl Edwards sent Brad Keselowski airborne and into the outside retaining wall.

This pair has been rubbing, shoving and wrecking each other since the 2009 Talladega race. It has even spilled over into the Nationwide Series.

When they get close to each other, there is usually some damaged equipment.

The first Sunday incident between them occurred on lap 41.

It appeared Edwards cut down across Keselowski’s nose.

Keselowski held his line and speed.

Edwards was sent spinning up the track and into the outside wall. On the way he collected Joey Logano.

Edwards admitted it might have been his fault.

“He cut down on me and I lifted, but I couldn’t lift anymore for him,” said Keselowski.

For the remaining 155 laps, Edwards and his team worked on his wrecked No. 99 in the garage.

Edwards managed to get back on the track, and with six laps remaining, it was payback time.

Keselowski passed Edwards and appeared to drift down just a little. It was just enough for Edwards to give Keselowski’s No. 12 a nudge.

Keselowski’s car went airborne and hit the outside retaining wall before landing back on its wheels.

“It was just a wild ride that was uncalled for,” said Keselowski.

NASCAR parked Edwards and his No. 99 for the remainder of the race, and summoned him to the NASCAR hauler for a consultation.

“At the end of the day people that race have got to have respect for one another,” said Edwards. “I wish that hadn’t gone like it did, but we’ll just go on and race some more. Maybe he and I won’t have any more incidents together.”

The second green-whitecheckered start occurred after a seven car pileup, initiated by Jamie McMurray.

Busch got a good jump on the rest of the field and pulled away. Juan Montoya and Kasey Kahne got bogged down together at the start/finish line, allowing Matt Kenseth to slip around them and finish second.

Montoya was third followed by Kahne, Paul Menard, A.J. Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, Greg Biffle, Kevin Harvick, and Scott Speed.

Top-12 Chase contenders after 4 of 36: 1. Harvick-644, 2. Kenseth-618, 3. Biffle-585, 4. Johnson-570, 5. Bowyer-558, 6. Burton-538, 7. Martin-521, 8. Stewart-510, 9. Menard-505, 10. Kurt Busch-502, 11. J. Gordon- 482, 12. Speed-482

Harvick claims third truck win

Kevin Harvick dominated Saturday’s E-Z-Go 200 Truck race in Atlanta for his third win in his last three starts.

Harvick crossed the stripe 1.308 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch at the end of a 14-lap green-flag dash to the finish. Aric Almirola came home third, followed by Steve Wallace. Todd Bodine survived a spin to finish fifth. Ricky Carmichael, Timothy Peters, Johnny Sauter, Rick Crawford and rookie Austin Dillon completed the top 10.

The win gave Harvick career victories at Atlanta in all three of NASCAR’s top touring series— trucks, Nationwide and Sprint Cup.

Top-10 points leaders after 2 of 25: 1. Bodine-340, 2. Peters- 336, 3. White-295, 4. Almirola-292, 5. Kyle Busch-272, 6. Compton- 257, 7. Setzer-246, 8. Crafton-242, 9. Malsam-236, 10. Neuenberger- 229

Jeff Gordon not thinking retirement

In a USA newspaper article, Jeff Gordon said he now wants to drive several more seasons with Hendrick Motorsports so his children can appreciate the success of the sport’s sixth all-time winningest driver (82 victories). Gordon has a 2-year-old daughter, Ella Sofia, and his wife, Ingrid, is due with their second child in August.

“I’ve always said I don’t want to race for the money,” said Gordon, who turns 39 on Aug. 4. “I really want my family to be able to be a part of it in a way that they can see and experience and be proud of what I’ve done.”

Gordon has a lifetime contract to drive the No. 24 Chevrolet for Hendrick.

“You go through life and find you really care about what you do and how important it is,” he continued. “You think about what life would be like without it. I’m enjoying what I do.”

John Bickford, Gordon’s stepfather who oversees the four-time champion’s business affairs as general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc., told USA TODAY the fourtime champion is five to six years away from retiring.

Gordon also said age has helped motivate him and finishing third in points last season proves “we’ve still got it.”

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how competitive I am,” he said. “I need to be a part of a competitive environment. It drives me. It really balances me out. I’ve got to find something to transition into when I’m not driving.”

With an eye on his future, Gordon has been dabbling in racetrack consultation and design and recently switched marketing agencies, which will help him stay in motorsports after his driving day’s are over.

“The reality of it is my passion is racing,” he says. “I’m a highly competitive person, and whether I’m driving or not I want to be involved in racing. I feel like it’d be pretty crazy for me to step away from that.”

“As we get further down the road, those conversations will get more serious with (team owner) Rick (Hendrick) and Hendrick Motorsports about what that role will be. And I’m comfortable behind the camera. I enjoy doing those things, and sometimes they’re fun, but sporadically. If it was a full-time thing, I don’t know if it’s something I’m good enough at or if I’m really passionate about it.”

In 584 NASCAR Cup races, Gordon has 82 wins and has won over 110 million dollars in prize money.

Weekend racing

This is an off weekend for all three of NASCAR’s major series. The next racing will be March 20-21 at Bristol.

Racing trivia question: How many members of the Flock family raced in NASCAR?

Last week’s question: How many Cup championships does Bill Elliott have? Answer. Elliott’s lone Cup championship came in 1988 when he had six wins.

You may contact the Racing Reporter at: hodgesnews@ earthlink.net.

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