Kurt Busch stepped into brother Kyle's shoes by winning round four of the 2009 Sprint Cup, succeeding his younger sibling as both the latest winner in the series and as victor in Atlanta.
Starting from the outside of round one, Busch clearly had the best car on track as he led 235 of the eventual 330 laps as the race finished under NASCAR's green-white-chequered 'overdrive' system - but had to work for the victory after being beaten off pit-road at the eleventh and final caution.
Having passed points leader Jeff Gordon and headed into the final 50 laps at the head of the train, Busch's biggest concern was whether he had enough fuel in the notoriously thirsty #2 Miller Lite Dodge to hold off the ever-present threat of Red Bull Toyota's Brian Vickers.
However, just as the #83 crew was telling its driver that he may have a shot at the win, Robby Gordon blew a tyre, shedding rubber on the homestretch and bringing out the yellows with four to run.
Busch, who had earlier survived a brush with the wall, was forced to pit for fuel, and opted for four new tyres, as did Vickers, but both were beaten off pit-road by Carl Edwards, whose two-tyre stop vaulted him to the lead from deep into the top ten.
The AFLAC Ford was no match for Busch, however, and the #2 was back in front by turn three at the restart. Edwards also succumbed to Gordon's #24 Chevy, but the points leader had nothing for the royal blue Dodge out front, as Roger Penske's team snatched its second Atlanta win, and Busch the 19th of his career.
“Good things come to those who wait,” said the race winner, after running a victory lap in reverse around the 1.54-mile speedway, “We waited over a year-and-a-half with this CoT to find a good package, and we've had that to start off 2009.”
This is the second year in a row that the Busch brothers have won back-to-back races, as Kyle won 22 June 2008 at Infineon and Kurt won the next week at New Hampshire - before Kyle then kept the family in victory lane with wins in the next two races, at Daytona and Chicago.
“That's neat,” Busch said of the back-to-back wins, after also following his brother's win in Atlanta in 2008, “I've got to hold my end of the bargain, because Kyle's on the gas right now. I've got to thank guys like Carl for racing me clean at the end, and Jeff Gordon was strong all day.