Kyle Busch proved emphatically Sunday night that he knows what to do with a lead when he gets it.
Never mind that Busch didn't grab the top spot until Lap 288 of 325 in the AdvoCare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, when he beat Ryan Newman and Joey Logano off pit road.
After two more quick cautions, Busch held off the fast-closing Logano during a 21-lap green-flag run to the finish, beating Logano's No. 22 Penske Racing Ford to the stripe by .740 seconds. Driving with a broken wrist, Martin Truex Jr. ran third, followed by Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman.
The victory was the fourth of the season for Busch, who won for the second time at Atlanta and the 28th time in his career.
The race also proved a serious blow to the Chase hopes of reigning Cup champion Brad Keselowski, who finished 35th after his engine expired and dropped to 15th in the series standings, 28 points behind Kurt Busch in 10th.
Logano, off sequence on pit stops, swapped the lead with Clint Bowyer during a 112-lap green-flag run that encompassed two full pit cycles. By lap 190, Bowyer had opened a 7.093-second lead over the Logano's No. 22 Ford, but Bowyer's experimental Toyota Racing Development engine erupted two laps later, wiping out the advantage and knocking the No. 15 Camry out of the race.
Six laps after the ensuing restart on lap 199, Denny Hamlin spun in Turn Four, thanks to a bump from Paul Menard. All lead-lap drivers came to pit road for tires and fuel except for Edwards and Logano. After a restart on Lap 213, Keselowski grabbed the lead.
Edwards dropped back precipitously, but Logano held his own in second place until Keselowski's engine began to lose power on Lap 243, handing the top spot back to Logano, who held a five-second lead over Newman after a round of green-flag pit stops that ended on Lap 254.
Newman cut the margin to 2.3 seconds before Jimmie Johnson spun off Turn Four trying to avoid Jeff Burton's Chevrolet, which had slowed to enter pit road, to cause the seventh caution and bunch the field for a restart on Lap 293.
First off pit road, Kyle Busch led the field to green, and on the restart lap, brother Kurt Busch streaked around the outside to move from 11th to second by the time the cars hit the middle of the backstretch. Before the leader could get to the start/finish line, however, Brian Vickers' spin in Turn Four slowed the field for the eighth time, setting up a restart on Lap 298. After one more caution, for a wreck involving Burton and Austin Dillon in Turn Four, Busch maintained control of the race to the finish.