KURT’S DOMINANCE RETURNS

The NASCAR weekend near Atlanta was a Busch sweep, and this time big brother Kurt got time as the honoree in Sprint Cup victory lane.

One day after Kyle Busch won Saturday’s NASCAR Camping World Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway — his fourth win in 10 NASCAR races this year — his 30-year-old brother went out Sunday and dominated the 500-mile Cup race in his No. 2 Penske Racing Dodge.

The Busches now lead all brother combos with four back-to-back wins; they have done it four times.

The Busches also rank sixth in all-time wins with 32 (Kurt with 19, Kyle with 13).

Big brother had a fast hot rod Sunday, and he reminded those in NASCAR nation that he still is one of the top five drivers in the series.

Kurt led 234 of 330 laps by riding within a foot of the outside guardwall on much of the oval to get his second win at the track and 19th of his career.

How good was he?

NASCAR compiles what it calls Loop Data statistics that rates drivers in each race in a variety of categories. Since 2005 when the system was introduced, only eight race winners have logged a perfect 1.50 driver rating.

Kurt did it Sunday for the fourth time. That’s right, he’s done it four of the eight times.

He led statistical categories for most laps led (234), average running position (1.5) and fastest laps run (81). He was also one of two drivers who never fell from the top 15 during the race. Kasey Kahne was the other.

Kurt and his team struggled last year when the model car — Car of Tomorrow — was mandated to be used at all races. There were times when he almost begged to park it during races because it was so ill-handling.

They won a rain-shortened race last season, but it was due more to a great strategy than a great car.

But he and his team persevered and it’s paying off this season. After four races, the “Blue Deuce” team has finished 10th, fifth, 23rd and first. You guessed it: His worst race was at Las Vegas Motor Speedway when an engine problem likely cost him a top-five.

“We’ve waited over a year and a half for this COT to find a good package and we’ve had that to start 2009. Unbelievable with the Miller Lite Dodge today. Great calls by (crew chief) Pat Tryson and our engineering staff. Penske power is back! This feels awesome."

POOR TIRE CHASER

Show some mercy for Jimmy Watts, the gas-man for Marcos Ambrose who brought out a yellow flag Sunday when he got too close to the track while going to retrieve a tire that rolled from his pit area.

The tire was a bit faster than Watts.

You know what it feels like. Ever drop a piece of paper on a windy day and as you get close to it a gust pushes it out of reach?

Well, the tire that escaped Watt’s pit stall was rolling faster than Watts’ legs could carry him.

Watts wanted to protect drivers and fans from the tire that could have become a deadly projectile had a car launched it into the grandstand.

It happened on the 67th lap as some cars were making green-flag pit stops.

It caused some drivers to lose a lap, but thanks to Busch’s dominating performance Watts had a better chance of catching that tire than anyone had of catching Busch.

As Watts approached the front stretch with cars going nearly 200 mph, NASCAR was forced to put out the caution flag for his safety. Race officials might have waited a few laps had the tire come to a stop before reaching the track.

Watts was suspended from competition for the remainder of the afternoon by NASCAR for "putting himself in harm’s way," according to NASCAR.

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