Hampton, GA (Sports Network) - Kyle Busch captured Saturday afternoon's
EasyCare Vehicle Service Contracts 200 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. The
No.51 Chevrolet crossed the finish line 0.971 second ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr.
but Hornaday Jr.'s finish was good enough to give him the series points lead.
The victory was Busch's first win in eight starts this season and fifth of his
Hornaday Jr. brought the field to the green flag for 130 laps of tight high-
speed racing. But right beside him was the points leader and they raced
into the first turn, side-by-side. Hornaday Jr. held off Skinner to lead the
first lap and gain five important bonus points.
But while Hornaday Jr. had his eye on Skinner, Busch slipped underneath
both drivers to grab the lead on lap three. Busch quickly moved out to a one
and-a-half second lead over Skinner.
Before 20 laps were completed Hornaday Jr. got around Skinner for second place
and it appeared Skinner was just cruising around waiting for later in the
Busch was still the leader on lap 31 when the caution flag flew for the first
time. All the leaders pitted for fuel and tires. Skinner's crew decided on a
two-tire stop and the decision gave him the race lead. Mark Martin also beat
Busch off pit road to grab second place.
Two laps into the green-flag run Hornaday Jr. charged into the lead from
fourth place. Busch was still fast after the stop and got around Skinner for
A crash involving Josh Wise, Clay Rogers and Chad Chaffin on lap 46 slowed the
Most of the leaders stayed out, but Skinner needed to change tires because of
a problem and it left him at the back in 17th place.
The race restarted on lap 54 and amazingly, the "King of Restarts" as Hornaday
Jr. is known, was beaten into the first turn by Busch. Busch ran with the
clean air and rebuilt his lead to almost one second. Then Hornaday Jr. fought
back and on lap 67 slipped below Busch to take the lead back.
Meanwhile, by lap 60 Skinner was already up to 12th place and he cracked the
top-10 on lap 68.
Another caution flag slowed the pace and all the leaders pitted. Busch was the
big winner with Johnny Benson and Martin just behind. Hornaday Jr. seemed to
have a slow stop and fell from first to fourth. Benson must have really found
the setup, because he charged past Busch for the lead and built the lead to
one second in just a few laps.
Now Hornaday Jr. got around Busch who seemed to be using up his tires quicker
than the other leaders. By lap 102 Hornaday Jr caught and passed Benson for
A caution flag with 25 laps to go (Jack Sprague accident) set up the final
stops and the run to the checkered flag
This time the No.33 KHI pit crew did the job and Hornaday Jr. beat everyone
back onto the track. Joey Clanton was second with Benson third.
Hornaday Jr. got a good restart, but the man on the move was Busch who charged
through the field like a hot knife through butter. He was fourth with 18 laps
to go and second with 16 laps remaining. Benson fought back and retook second,
but Busch still held the inside lane and wasn't giving up.
A dozen laps to go and four trucks were left with a chance for the win -
Hornaday Jr., Benson, Busch and Martin. Then a caution flag on lap 118 when
Chad McCumbee's truck left some fluid on the track to slow the race to a
They restarted on lap 122 and Busch charged to the lead building the margin
to four lengths with six laps to go. He kept it going and flew to the
checkered flag unchallenged the rest of the way.
Benson, Martin and Skinner completed the top-five.
Despite finishing a solid fifth, Skinner lost his championship lead to
Hornaday Jr. He will go to the next race, at the Texas Motor Speedway, four
points back (3,547 - 3,543).