Kurt Busch survived a wild ending to Sunday's Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, watching a teammate go airborne and then managing to hold off the field through two green-white-checkered restarts to win his second-straight spring race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Busch fended off Matt Kenseth and Juan Pablo Montoya to claim his 21st NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win and third at AMS.
"We were able to get it right and hit just perfect with the marks today," Busch said. "Even on all the restarts at the end, I just felt like we had the car to beat."
But the most dramatic event in the closing laps was an incident between Brad Keselowski and Carl Edwards, who had been locked in a shoving match for several laps. As the duo streaked across the start/finish line with two laps to go, Edwards appeared to intentionally nudge Keselowski's left rear quarter-panel, propelling Keselowski into the wall and then airborne before ferociously smashing his upturned car into first the wall and then the track surface.
"The No. 99 just wrecked me intentionally on the straightaway," Keselowski said as he left he infield care center, where he had been seen and released. "I was cutting him some slack because I knew he was angry, but I guess it wasn't enough slack, and he about killed me."
Edwards was promptly black-flagged and ordered to the NASCAR hauler.
"Brad knows the deal between him and I," Edwards said. "The scary part was his car went airborne, which was not at all what I expected. I wish it wouldn't have gone like it did, but I'm glad he's okay ... maybe him and I won't get in any more incidents together."
Montoya was ahead of the incident and said he didn't see what happened, but he wasn't surprised that Keselowski was involved.
"He wrecked a lot of people (last year)," Montoya said as he watched the replay. "I'm sure a lot of people wanted to pay him back. Looking at the TV, somebody did."
Before the dramatic wreck, Montoya had been steadily closing on Busch and laying the groundwork for another Atlanta photo finish. Instead, he was faced with two restarts, spinning the tires on the second one and losing a spot to Kenseth in the process.
"I thought we were going to have a chance," Montoya said. "I don't know what happened."
It wasn't a good day for Georgia drivers. Unadilla's David Ragan scrubbed the wall early and finished off the pace in 37th, while Joey Logano, a Connecticut native that grew up racing at AMS, was involved in a lap-41 incident that relegated him to 35th. Dawsonville's Bill Elliott had the best result of the day, coming home 16th.
NASCAR racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway for a thrilling weekend of racing under the lights this Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4-5. Great seats are available by calling the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at 877-9-AMS-TIX (877-926-7849) or by visiting www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.