HAMPTON, GEORGIA – JULY 10: Kyle Busch, driver of the #54 Extra Gum Toyota,celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Credit Karma Money 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on July 10, 2021 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) 


By Tyler Head

Perhaps for the final time, Kyle Busch took the checkered flag in an Xfinity Series race by winning the Credit Karma Money 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday.

Busch, who has exhausted his minimum five starts in NASCAR’s second series, has been very vocal that he is done with the series going forward after 18 years. Busch is the all-time wins leader in Xfinity.

It wasn’t easy for the driver of the 54 though. Despite leading 97 laps, he had to battle a series of late restarts to win.

Busch led flag to flag in the race’s first stage, but lost the race out of the pits to his teammate Harrison Burton. The 54 would take the lead after getting by Noah Gragson on lap 49. A pair of cautions for accidents involving David Starr and Josh Berry respectively forced Busch into restart battles and aside from AJ Allmendinger leading lap 66, Busch was uncontested in his stage two win.

The final stage saw five different cautions which meant tire strategy began playing out through the field. After Gray Gaulding hit the backstretch wall on lap 97, Busch led many cars into the pits, but several stayed out in hopes of saving a set for later in the race.

In the chaos of the ensuing restart, Daniel Hemric snaked his way through the gambling cars and took first before Busch could. Hemric, still searching for his first NASCAR national series win, led 45 of the next 52 laps. Busch followed him most of the laps in second, where his car didn’t handle as well in Hemric’s dirty air.

Carson Ware brought out the yellow with 17 to go after hitting the backstretch wall. Kyle Weatherman spun immediately on the restart with 12 to go allowing Hemric to stay up front.

The fireworks flew with the following restart with 6 to go. Busch, lined up directly behind the 18, pushed him in to turn one in an effort to allow both cars to edge ahead of the field. In doing so though, the 18 was sent up the track slapping the wall and collected Justin Allgaier. Hemric had no animosity for Busch’s move, but it ended yet another opportunity for Hemric to win his first race.

This pushed the race to overtime where the 54 restarted with the lead and held off a a late charge by Jeb Burton to hold on to the win.

“This is it,” Busch said in the media center after the race. “Never say never, but this is the last one. Last scheduled run. We’ll hang it up and do something else on Saturdays.”

If Busch’s word holds true, he will very easily go down as the best driver the Xfinity Series has ever seen. Busch won his 102 races in just 362 starts.

Final Result of the Credit Karma Money 250:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Jeb Burton
3. Noah Gragson
4. Justin Haley
5. Ty Dillon
6. Brett Moffitt
7. Justin Allgaier
8. Jeremy Clements
9. Sam Mayer
10. Austin Cindric
11. Austin Dillon
12. Ryan Sieg
13. AJ Allmendinger
14. Ryan Vargas
15. Alex Labbe
16. Tommy Joe Martins
17. Jade Buford
18. Josh Williams
19. Riley Herbst
20. Colby Howard
21. Myatt Snider
22. Jeffrey Earnhardt
23. Josh Berry
24. Harrison Burton
25. Joe Graf Jr
26. Matt Mills
27. Ronnie Bassett Jr
28. Jesse Little
29. Mason Massey
30. Daniel Hemric
31. Brandon Brown
32. Kyle Weatherman
33. Santino Ferrucci
34. Bayley Currey
35. Gray Gaulding
36. Carson Ware
37. CJ McLaughlin
38. Landon Cassill
39. Brandon Jones
40. David Starr