By Jeff O'Brien

The Busch brothers are banging on the Allisons’ rear bumper for the top spot on the list of NASCAR Cup Series wins by siblings.

On Sunday, however, the sibling rivalry between Kurt and Kyle Busch was the story. Thanks to Kurt’s win over runner-up Kyle at Atlanta Motor Speedway, each has two wins in the four Cup races featuring one-two finishes by the brothers.

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Hampton, GA – JULY 11: Kurt Busch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet Camaro GEARWRENCH (1) celebrates in Victory Lane after the NASCAR Cup Series Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart on July 11, 2021, at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.(Photo by Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

That was a cause for celebration for older brother Kurt, who climbed out of his car and yelled, “Hell yeah, we beat Kyle!”

It was a sore subject for Kyle. Kurt said his younger brother dropped by victory lane to “do the Kyle Busch grumpy.”

Neither likes losing to the other. It may be especially difficult for Kyle, even though he’s had more NASCAR success.

“It’s a little-brother syndrome,” Kurt said. “I’m an older brother. I don’t know what it is to be the younger one. It’s a genuine feel of I’m not trying to push his buttons, but I know that as we’ve gotten older, the stats have stacked in his favor, and I’ve come to an agreement with that in my own mind.”

HOMESTEAD, FL – NOVEMBER 17: Kyle Busch celebrates winning the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series EcoBoost 400 and the Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 17, 2019. (Photo by Michael Bush/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kurt predicted his brother would move past his hurt feelings in a few days. It might help Kyle to be reminded that he and Kurt are closing in on that record for most Cup Series wins by brothers. Bobby Allison (84) and Donnie Allison (10) combined for 94 Cup wins, the record for brothers. The Busch brothers now have 92 — 59 from Kyle and 33 from Kurt.

Kurt, 42, wants to make sure he’s still racing when the record falls.

“It needs to get done here in the next year or two while I’m still driving,” he said. “They still have that record, but Kyle and I are out here finishing one-two. We can chip away at it and try to get that done.”

The last time Kurt beat Kyle in a one-two finish, in Kentucky in 2019, it cost Kurt a seat on Kyle’s plane ride back home to Charlotte. On Sunday, Kurt knew he should arrange his own transportation.

SPARTA, KY – JULY 13: Kurt Busch (1) Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 celebrates with his pit crew after winning the Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY on July 13, 2019. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“It’s only about four hours back to Charlotte, so it’s not too big of a deal,” Kurt said. “But I’m pretty sure Kyle has already taken off.”

Kurt still smiled. He had something better than a ride home.

“We’ve got the trophy,” he said. “I ain’t worried about it.”

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Indeed, the Busch brothers’ sibling rivalry burns strong.

“I’ll tell you, the adrenaline gets going, the childhood memories come back,” Kurt said. “The best of the best in this business is in my mirror, and yet I can giggle to myself sometimes and go, ‘Yeah, I taught him everything he knows.'”

FORT WORTH, TX – NOVEMBER 03: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch (18) walks through the crowd during driver introductions before the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 on November 03, 2019 at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kyle gave credit to his big brother as “definitely better than us today.”

“I thought I had him, and I did, but racing just didn’t play out for us today.”

Kurt said the rivalry can be intense.

“It’s an awesome, genuine battle between the two of us,” he said. “We’ve had some friction over the years, but as we get older we’ve gotten slightly a bit wiser and we’ve raced each other with a ton of respect on track to almost be teammates, even though we race for different organizations.”

The Busch brothers swept the Atlanta weekend races.

HAMPTON, GA – JULY 10: Kyle Busch, driver of the (54) Extra Gum Toyota after winning the 31st running of the NASCAR Xfinity Credit Karma Money 250 race on July 10, 2021 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kyle won the Xfinity Series race Saturday, his fifth win in five tries this season in the second-tier series, and said he doesn’t plan to return to the series next season.

Kurt Busch’s win could provide a boost in his search for a new team. His contract with Chip Ganassi Racing expires at the end of the year, and Ganassi sold the team to Trackhouse Racing owner Justin Marks this month.

Kurt wants to drive one of NASCAR’S new Next Gen cars next year.

“It seems to be an owners’ market right now, but for me, I’m doing all I can with the Next Gen car on the horizon,” he said. “I’m a racer, and I’ll be a racer through and through. … To drive this Next Gen car, it’s important to me, and I’m going to try to make it work.”

 

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