Shaking off the disappointment of losing the Sprint Cup pole, Kyle Busch claimed his first Xfinity Series victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway by holding off Kyle Larson at Hampton, Ga.
Busch and Larson pulled away from the field after the final yellow flag. Larson closed the gap to about a half-second in the closing laps, but the rally ended when he got caught up briefly behind the lapped car of Ryan Preece.
Busch crossed the line 0.466 seconds ahead of Larson, then did his customary burnout and bow in front of the main grandstand, holding the checkered flag.
The winner has plenty of experience celebrating in the second-tier series, claiming his career-best 77th victory, though Atlanta was one of three active tracks where he’d never won an Xfinity race.
“This is a pretty neat deal,” Busch said. “I’m glad get it out of the way. I checked another off the list.”
He won the pole for the Xfinity race in the morning and then dominated the race on a sunny afternoon, leading 119 of 163 laps.
Of course, that didn’t lessen the disappointment of having to start from the back of the field in the Sprint Cup race on Sunday.
“This is Xfinity, that’s Cup,” Busch said. “But it is what it is. It’s not that big a deal.”
Erik Jones, bouncing back from a penalty at the start of the race, was the top-finishing Xfinity regular but more than 10 seconds behind the winner in third place.
In the truck series race, John Hunter Nemechek emerged from the carnage that took out the front-runners for his second career victory. Nemechek, the son of longtime Cup driver Joe Nemechek, held off Cameron Hayley by 0.31 seconds.