Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and J.H. Nemechek in a Victory Lane at Atlanta
Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch and John Hunter Nemechek took their respective victories during previous NASCAR weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Johnson scored his 76th Sprint Cup Series victory in Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500, Busch was the winner of Xfinity Series race Heads Up Georgia 250, while Nemechek won Truck Series’ Great Clips 200.
76th Sprint Cup victory for Johnson
After 330 laps at 1.54-mile track Jimmie Johnson, in #48 Chevrolet, took the chequered flag in overtime under caution ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in #16 Chevrolet. Dale was among the first to congratulate Johnson, who reached his 76th Sprint Cup Series win and he is now tied with late Dale Earnhardt on the seventh place of the all-time winners list.
“It’s such an honor. With the chaos at the end and the crash and wondering about overtime and how it worked these days, I kind of lost sight of that. I remembered it on my Victory Lap coming down, and I had to come by and throw a ‘3’ out the window to pay my respects to the man. There’s a huge void in my career that I never had a chance to race with him, but at least I was able to tie his record,” Johnson said.
Video: Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 – Final restart, crash and Johnson’s victory
Johnson and Earnhardt Jr. were followed by Kyle Busch, who started 39th after his qualifying time was disallowed because the rear toe of his #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota exceeded NASCAR’s tolerances. Polesitter Kurt Busch was fourth, and Carl Edwards finished fifth. A wreck on the backstretch caused the caution that ended the race under yellow five laps beyond its scheduled distance.
77th career victory for Kyle Busch
A day earlier, the reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Kyle Busch scored his first ever victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway, and the 77th of his career. He won 163-lap Heads Up Georgia 250 race in a close battle against Kyle Larson. Busch’s #18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was in the lead for 119 laps, but at the end of the race Larson was cutting the gap and #42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet crossed the finish line just 0.466s behind the winner.
Erik Jones, Paul Menard and Ty Dillon completed the Top 5. Elliott Sadler finished ninth and retained the series lead by three points over the seventh-place finisher Daniel Suarez and five points over Dillon.
Full results of Heads up Georgia 250
Video: Heads up Georgia 250 recap
Leaders wrecked up, Nemechek took the win
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series also raced on Saturday. In a wild 130-lap race John Hunter Nemechek scored the victory in #8 Chevrolet, just 0.305s ahead of Cameron Hayley‘s #13 Toyota. The victory was Nemechek’s second in 32 Truck Series starts. At 18 years, 8 months and 16 days, Nemechek is the youngest NASCAR national series winner at Atlanta.
Nemechek took the win after three main rivals, which led for most of the race, crashed out. Christopher Bell, who led for 42 laps, lost the nose of his #4 Toyota in lap 112, hooked teammate Daniel Suarez’s #51 Tundra and turned Suarez into the race leader Matt Crafton, who had spent 76 circuits at the front of the field. The trucks of Crafton and Suarez were damaged beyond repair, leaving Bell to grab the top spot after the restart. But not for long, because the tire blew up in lap 123 and he swerved straight into the outside wall in Turn 4.
Complete results of Great Clips 200 at Atlanta.
Video: Atlanta’s crash which takes out the leader Matt Crafton
Photos: nascar.com/Getty Images,