This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.
Sunday's Quaker State 400 at Atlanta Motor Speedway was a showdown between brothers Kurt and Kyle Busch. The pair combined to dominate the race, leaving little opportunity for the rest of the field to have their say in the outcome. Kyle won the first stage, but Kurt won the second and took the race victory, too. It was Busch's first win of the season and comes as his momentum had taken a turn for the better in recent weeks. Kyle's runner-up result was his fourth top-three finish in a row, too. His win in Saturday's Xfinity Series race meant the brothers swept the Atlanta race weekend, too.
Kurt Busch's win Sunday dramatically changed the playoff picture. He is now the 12th-different winner this season and secured entry into the championship playoffs. The result leaves just four places for drivers to get into the championship battle on points alone with heavy-hitters like Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick still winless with five regular-season races remaining. Up this week is a visit to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, where Harvick has won two of the last three races.
Kurt Busch – Busch's recent upward swing in momentum carried him right through to the second stage win Sunday in Atlanta. From there, all he had to do was hold off his younger brother in the final miles to complete his turnaround and grab his first victory of the season, securing his spot in the 16 championship contenders. The former champion had three