Kurt Busch Not Only Shook Up His Brother Kyle in Atlanta, but He Also Shook Up the NASCAR Cup Series Playoff Picture
Kurt Busch’s win at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend ruffled a few feathers, including those of his brother Kyle Busch. Kurt, aided by the help of teammate Ross Chastain, was able to overtake his brother and hold on for the victory in the Quaker State 400.
Kyle blasted Chastain after the race for what he believed was a blatant block. Kurt’s victory not only riled up his brother, but it also sent the NASCAR Cup Series playoff chase into a frenzy.
Kurt Busch passed and then held off his frustrated brother at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Kurt Busch got the win in Atlanta last weekend with a significant assist from Chastain. Chastain was asked by a Chip Ganassi Racing teammate to position himself in the high lane and slow down Kyle, the leader at the time. While Kurt eventually took the lead and held on for the win, Kyle blasted Chastain for the move.
“He turned right in order to get dead right in front of me,” Kyle said, according to NBC Sports. “For a whole two laps, I just killed the tires trying to get turned underneath him. You can’t just change direction, and when I tried to change direction, he watched his mirror and changed direction with me. So he just stomped on the brake and air blocked. It’s pathetic.”
Kyle, who finished second, appeared to have fired off a warning shot in Chastain’s direction. “It’s racing, man,” he said. “You can do whatever the hell you want, it’s just going to come back on you.”
While Kurt Busch shook up his brother, he also shook up those playoff positions
The victory was Kurt’s first in the Cup Series this year, and that shook up the playoff picture. With five races to go, there are four playoff spots remaining after Kurt’s win sealed his ninth straight playoff appearance. According to NASCAR, those four spots are provisionally filled by top points earners (in order) Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, and Tyler Reddick.
“Our win last year at Vegas was a long time ago,” Kurt said, “and so to update that and to make ourselves playoff eligible, it’s a huge feather in the cap for everybody that’s part of that organization to keep pushing and to give our best all the way to Phoenix.”
His victory was a severe blow to the other drivers trying to qualify for the playoffs via points. The gap between Reddick and Chris Buescher on the other end of the cutoff line is now 96 points, with Matt DiBenedetto, Chastain, Bubba Wallace, and others more than 100 points behind.
Busch’s win was damaging to Tyler Reddick
Prior to the Atlanta race last weekend, Reddick sat ahead of Kurt in the points standings. Reddick’s Ray Childress crew told their driver prior to the final stage to watch out for Kurt.
“We’re going to need the 1 (Busch) to slow down here. We don’t need him winning,” they said to Reddick, according to NASCAR.
Reddick finds himself in a position where he can’t drop, sitting in the 16th and final spot. A repeat of Atlanta with another first-time winner pulling into victory lane would be devastating to his chances.
Reddick has been hot lately, finishing in the top 10 in three straight races. His confidence remains high.
“I know we can make the playoffs,” he said after the Atlanta race. “We just have to continue to push.”