Kurt Busch wins battle of brothers at Atlanta


With the “help” of Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Ross Chastain, Kurt Busch bested his brother, Kyle Busch, to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

MORE: Atlanta Cup race results, driver points

Leading the race with 25 laps to go, Kyle Busch closed on Chastain to put him a lap down. But Chastain ended up slowing Kyle Busch down, enabling Kurt Busch to catch and pass him for the lead.

Kyle Busch didn’t let his sibling get away and almost took the lead back off a massive run inside with seven laps to go. But Kurt Busch repelled the attack, then pulled away through lapped traffic to a 1.2-second win.

Kurt Busch, who became the 12th driver to clinch a spot in the 16-driver Cup playoff field with a win, channeled his inner Ricky Bobby when asked about Chastain’s role in the outcome.

“Shake and bake!,” Kurt Busch yelled during his post-race interview with NBCSN, drawing a hearty cheer from the crowd.

“He did his job as a teammate. Ross is gonna get a little flak for it, but that’s what it takes to be a good teammate at the right moment.

“I couldn’t be more proud of Ross Chastain. I’ll pay him back eventually, but right now, it’s our No. 1 car in Victory Lane.”

Kyle Busch, who settled for runner-up, wasn’t as thrilled.

“Same as always, we just don’t have that front end with laps on tires,” Kyle Busch told NBCSN. “I had everything I had there early in the run and then just smoked it behind the 42 (Chastain) obviously – shows you what kind of driver he is.

“Just tried to fight hard after that when I got passed and had one valiant effort off of (turn) two but just didn’t have enough momentum to drag (Kurt Busch) down and make him go high in three and four. After that, the tires were smoked.

“…The 1 (Kurt Busch) was definitely better than us today. I just thought I had him. And we did. But racing just didn’t play out that way for us.”

When asked by NBCSN if he changed what he’d been doing as the Busch brothers closed from behind, Chastain said he was asked by Kurt to give him the bottom lane.

“I’m racing to stay on the lead lap, and I’m very aware of what’s going on, on the track around me,” Chastain added. “Kurt asked for the bottom and I gave it to him.”

Martin Truex Jr. finished third to give Joe Gibbs Racing two cars in the top three at day’s end. Alex Bowman finished fourth. Ryan Blaney, who won at Atlanta in March, finished fifth.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Kyle Busch

STAGE 2 WINNER: Kurt Busch

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Tyler Reddick recorded his third straight top-10 finish with a sixth-place showing … Dawsonville, Georgia native and Cup champion Chase Elliott finished seventh at his home track … Matt DiBenedetto has back-to-back top 10s after placing ninth on Sunday.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Already on the fringe of the playoff picture, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Daniel Suarez were both swept up in a multi-car crash at Lap 31. That relegated Suarez and Stenhouse to 36th and 37th-place finishes, respectively … A potential top-five run for Kyle Larson was undone by a speeding penalty on his final pit stop at Lap 212. Larson could only recover for 18th place.

NOTABLE: Perhaps to show why it’s set for its first repave in a quarter century, a chunk of the racing surface came up on the front stretch and forced a red flag for repairs at Lap 167. The red flag lasted for 19 minutes, four seconds.

NEXT: Sunday, July 18 – New Hampshire Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN)

NASCAR weekend schedule at Gateway, Portland


NASCAR’s top three series are racing this weekend in two different locations. Cup and Craftsman Truck teams will compete at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and the Xfinity Series will compete at Portland International Raceway.

World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Cup and Trucks)

Weekend weather

Friday: Partly cloudy with a high of 87 degrees during Truck qualifying.

Saturday: Sunny. Temperatures will be around 80 degrees for the start of Cup practice and climb to 88 degrees by the end of Cup qualifying. Forecast calls for sunny skies and a high of 93 degrees around the start of the Truck race.

Sunday: Mostly sunny with a high of 92 degrees and no chance of rain at the start of the Cup race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 1 – 8 p.m. Craftsman Truck Series
  • 4 – 9 p.m. Cup Series

Track activity

  • 6 – 6:30 p.m. — Truck practice (FS1)
  • 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. — Truck qualifying (FS1)

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  — Cup Series
  • 12:30 p.m. — Truck Series

Track activity

  • 10 – 10:45 a.m. — Cup practice (FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 10:45 a.m. – Noon — Cup qualifying  (FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)
  • 1:30 p.m. — Truck race (160 laps, 200 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

Sunday, June 4

Garage open

  • 12:30 p.m. — Cup Series

Track activity

  • 3:30 p.m. — Cup race (240 laps, 300 miles; FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)


Portland International Raceway (Xfinity Series)

Weekend weather

Friday: Mostly sunny with a high of 77 degrees.

Saturday: Mostly sunny with a high of 73 degrees and no chance of rain around the start of the Xfinity race.

Friday, June 2

(All times Eastern)

Garage open

  • 6-11 p.m. Xfinity Series

Saturday, June 3

Garage open

  • 10 a.m.  — Xfinity Series

Track activity

  • 11:30 a.m. – Noon — Xfinity practice (No TV)
  • Noon – 1 p.m. — Xfinity qualifying (FS1)
  • 4:30 p.m. — Xfinity race (75 laps, 147.75 miles; FS1, Motor Racing Network, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio)

NASCAR Cup playoff standings after Coca-Cola 600


The severe penalty to Chase Briscoe and his Stewart-Haas Racing team Wednesday for a counterfeit part dropped Briscoe from 17th to 31st in the season standings. Briscoe now must win a race to have a chance at the playoffs.

The penalty came a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for his retaliation in wrecking Denny Hamlin in Monday’s Coca-Cola 600. Elliott is 28th in the points. The 2020 Cup champion also needs to win to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Ten drivers have won races, including Coca-Cola 600 winner Ryan Blaney. That leaves six playoff spots to be determined by points at this time. With 12 races left in the regular season, including unpredictable superspeedway races at Atlanta (July 9) and Daytona (Aug. 26), the playoff standings will change during the summer.

Among those without a win this season are points leader Ross Chastain and former champions Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Elliott.

Here’s a look at the Cup playoff standings heading into Sunday’s Cup race at World Wide Technology Raceway in Madison, Illinois. Drivers in yellow have won a race and are in a playoff position. Those below the red line after 16th place are outside a playoff spot in the graphic below.

NASCAR issues major penalties to Chase Briscoe team for Charlotte infraction


NASCAR fined crew chief John Klausmeier $250,000 and suspended him six races, along with penalizing Chase Briscoe and the No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team 120 points and 25 playoff points each for a counterfeit part on the car.

The issue was a counterfeit engine NACA duct, said Elton Sawyer, NASCAR senior vice president of competition, on Wednesday. That is a single-source part.

MORE: Updated Cup playoff standings

The team stated that it accepts the L3 penalty.

“We had a quality control lapse and a part that never should’ve been on a car going to the racetrack ended up on the No. 14 car at Charlotte,” said Greg Zipadelli in a statement from the team. “We accept NASCAR’s decision and will not appeal.”

Asked how then piece could have aided performance, Sawyer said Wednesday: “Knowing the race team mentality, they don’t do things that would not be a benefit to them in some way, shape or form from a performance advantage.”

The penalty drops Briscoe from 17th in the season standings to 31st in the standings. Briscoe goes from having 292 points to having 172 points. He’ll have to win to make the playoffs. Briscoe has no playoff points at this time, so the penalty puts him at -25 playoff points should he make it.

Briscoe’s car was one of two taken to the R&D Center after Monday’s Coca-Cola 600 for additional tear down by series officials.

The penalty comes a day after NASCAR suspended Chase Elliott one race for wrecking Denny Hamlin in last weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

NASCAR Championship Weekend returns to Phoenix in 2024


Phoenix Raceway will host the championship races for the Cup, Xfinity, Craftsman Truck and ARCA Menards Series in 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday.

The races will be held Nov. 1-3, 2024. The Cup season finale will be Nov. 3, 2024. The only other Cup race for 2024 that has been announced is the Daytona 500. It will be held Feb. 18, 2024.

Phoenix Raceway has hosted the championship finale for Cup, Xfinity and Trucks since 2020. Chase Elliott won the Cup title there in 2020. Kyle Larson followed in 2021. Joey Logano won the crown there in 2022.

This year’s Cup finale at Phoenix will be Nov. 5 and air on NBC.