NASCAR Xfinity Series at Atlanta 2016 Results: Winner, Standings and Reaction

Joe PantornoFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2016

Pole sitter Kyle Busch leads the field early in a NASCAR XFinity Series auto race at Atlanta Motor Speedway Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016, in Hampton, Ga. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

Kyle Busch took the checkered flag at the Heads Up 250 in NASCAR's Xfinity Series on Saturday from Atlanta. 

It was his first career win at the track after five second-place finishes over his career. He spoke after the race, via PRN:

Here are the full race results:

Heads Up 250 Race Results
PlaceDriver
1Kyle Busch
2Kyle Larson
3Erik Jones
4Paul Menard
5Ty Dillon
6Brad Keselowski
7Daniel Suarez
8Justin Allgaier
9Elliott Sadler
10Jeb Burton
11Brandon Jones
12Kevin Harvick
13Brendan Gaughan
14Brennan Poole
15Ryan Reed
16Ryan Sieg
17Jeremy Clements
18Darrell Wallace Jr.
19J.J. Yeley
20Blake Koch
21Dakoda Armstrong
22Ryan Preece
23Corey Lajoie
24Garrett Smithley
25Mario Gosselin
26B.J. McLeod
27Derrike Cope
28Ross Chastain
29Chris Cockrum
30Mike Harmon
31Cody Ware
32Joey Gase
33Ray Black Jr.
34Josh Reaume
35Harrison Rhodes
36Carl Long
37Morgan Shepherd
38Todd Peck
39David Starr
40Jeff Green

This is what the standings look like after Saturday's race:

 

2016 Xfinity Series Standings
PlaceDriverPoints
1Elliott Sadler70
2Daniel Suarez67
3Ty Dillon65
4Brandon Jones64
5Justin Allgaier63
6Brendan Gaughan62
7Darrell Wallace Jr.58
8Blake Koch53
9Ryan Reed51
10Jeremy Clements50

Busch led 119 of the 163 laps after beginning the race as the pole-sitter. It was a dominant performance by Busch as only Brad Keselowski, Justin Allgaier and Jeb Burton led laps. 

It was no easy feat to do what Busch did, either.

Drivers had to contend with one of the older surfaces in NASCAR's circuit. The last time the asphalt track at Atlanta was re-done was in 1997. The surface slows down cars due to the rocks that become exposed on the track, which wears down the tires. 

Atlanta is also a track that has big, drawn-out curves and short straightaways that don't allow drivers to stay on the throttle like other venues. It created some cautions that included blown tires and plenty of debris on the track, via NASCAR Xfinity:

The trouble, though, didn't end on the track, as NASCAR Xfinity showed:

With 20 laps to go, it became a two-car race between Busch and Kyle Larson. Busch opened up a lead as large as 1.7 seconds in the process, while Larson had more than three seconds on the third-place driver.

As the race dwindled, that separation continued to grow. With seven laps to go, the top two had more than a six-second edge, but Larson was bearing down on Busch. Larson found a solid groove on the top part of the track and was putting up some fast laps. 

His deficit shrank from 1.7 seconds, to less than one with five laps to go, but Busch managed to hold on for the win. Third-place Erik Jones, who started the race in the front row but was forced to the back of the pack after a bad start, finished over nine seconds behind Larson. 

But because Busch is not a full-time Xfinity driver, an early-season win does not thrust him to the top of the series standings. 

After a ninth-place finish, Elliott Sadler remains the series leader by three points over Daniel Suarez, who finished in seventh.

 

Stats courtesy of NASCAR.com.