HAMPTON, Ga. – Kyle Busch locked up his spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship with his fourth victory of the year Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Busch emerged with the lead after a rapid-fire series of caution flags near the end, and he held off hard-charging Joey Logano to win by 0.740 second.
Martin Truex Jr, racing with a broken right wrist, took third on the 1.54-mile trioval, followed by Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.
The rest of the top 10: Jeff Gordon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers.
When the music stops, everyone hopes to have a seat.
A seat behind the wheel of a stock car, that is.
NASCAR is going through its own version of musical chairs at the moment, with several big-name drivers moving to new rides or scrambling to land a spot in the 2014 Sprint Cup field.
This week, former Cup champion Kurt Busch completed his move to Stewart-Haas Racing for next season. Another big piece of the puzzle was finalized Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, where 21-year-old Kyle Larson was announced as the next driver of the No. 42 car at Earnhardt Ganassi Racing.
Those moves left Newman and Montoya on the outside looking in, at least for the moment.
I find it interesting, just like everybody else does, said Dale Earnhardt Jr., who doesn’t have to worry about his status at Hendrick Motorsports.
The situation is especially complex for Newman, who is trying to get Stewart-Haas’ No. 39 car in the 10-race playoff at the end of the season, while also weighing his options for next year.
I would say it’s more of a challenge because you have to compartmentalize, stay focused at different times on different subjects, said Newman, who was 15th in the points going into Sunday night’s race at Atlanta – the next-to-last event before the Chase. It takes away from the relaxing time in your mind, which is just as important as being focused on what you need to at any given time, be it 2013 or 2014.