Kyle Busch wins Heads Up Georgia 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
After finishing second five times in 11 XFINITY Series races at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch put together a dominating race and held off a late charge by Kyle Larson to win the Heads Up Georgia 250 and become just the second driver to win in all three national touring series at Atlanta.
Kevin Harvick, the only other driver to win in all three series at Atlanta, was a nonfactor for most of the day after early car trouble put him down as many as two laps. He would never recover and finished a lap down in 12th place, snapping an AMS-record streak of three consecutive XFINITY Series victories.
Busch, who won the pole and never ran worse than third place during a green-flag run, led a total of 119 of the 163 laps, including each of the final 93 to cruise to the checkered flag.
"Just to accomplish some of my goals that I have in racing (is special)," said Busch. "Being in Atlanta - I have never won here before (in the XFINITY Series), so I can't say enough about JGR engines. I'm glad to get it out of the way and checked off the list."
Larson, who has two top-5s in three career XFINITY Series races at Atlanta, made a late charge as he and Busch weaved through lapped traffic and threatened the No. 18's lead, closing to within half a second in the final laps.
"I actually thought that last run was going to be too long. Larson was just better than us. He could kind of close, and close, and close. With lapped traffic, you're trying to figure things out," said Busch. "They were really nice to me. I think they screwed him up multiple times."
Despite the runner-up finish, it was an encouraging afternoon for Larson who was already looking ahead to his next opportunity to reel in a victory.
"We were a little bit better than I thought we were going to be. I thought we'd be a fourth-, fifth-, sixth-place car, and we were definitely second-best, I thought," Larson said. "So we were happy about that. I'm really excited about all the mile-and-a-halves that we'll get to run later on this year. I won Homestead (in the final race of the 2015 season), and were could have won today."
Busch was able to hold Larson at bay through the white flag and check Atlanta off his list of dominating performances.
The one-two finish by Busch and Larson is the fourth of its kind in the XFINITY Series, Busch winning all of them.
Erik Jones, a teammate of Busch's, started the race next to him on the outside of the front row, but a starting infraction forced him to the back of the field early after a pass-through penalty. He would use the entire race to recover and finish third.
Paul Menard and Ty Dillon finished fourth and fifth respectively, while Brandon Jones led the way for Georgia drivers with an 11th-place finish.
The Great Clips 200 Camping World Truck Series race wraps up the only same-day doubleheader on the NASCAR schedule this afternoon with a 4:35 p.m. start.