NASCAR's elder Busch brother lives the high life in Albany on Friday

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ALBANY -- It appears the Busch family has found a comfort factor with Atlanta Motor Speedway. After Kyle Busch won the spring race in 2008, his older brother, 2004 Cup Series points champion Kurt Busch, took its checkered flag last year.

Considering that, perhaps no one is more happy to be racing this weekend in Atlanta than Kurt, who started last weekend

in his hometown of Las Vegas from the pole but got caught up in an early wreck, finishing 35th

and falling eight spots to 19th in the Sprint Cup standings.

"Things like that happen, but it's good to be back in Atlanta where we won last year and now we're just stopping by to see friends here in Albany here at Miller Brewery," Busch said, referring to his car's primary sponsor.

Signing autographs at Albany's Miller Coors on Friday morning, Busch said there are several keys to winning Sunday in Atlanta.

"This is a track you have to attack hard and race smart on," he said. "You have to conserve your tires and yet have the speed to pull it out."

Busch, who said Friday was his first appearance at the Albany brewery in a couple of years, added another intangible for Sunday -- his crew chief is Steve Addington. Addington, coincidentally, was crew chief for Kyle Busch in the 2008 Atlanta win, as well as 11 others during most of the previous two seasons. Addington was fired as Kyle Busch's crew chief by Joe Gibbs Racing late last season due to inconsistent results and not making it into the Chase for the Championship despite four victories.

"He'll be able to work his way through," Kurt said. "Things change in this sport and you have to adapt to them and I think he knows that. Not a lot of things stay the same and you have to continue to change."

One change Atlanta race organizers made last fall was moving its second race from late October to Labor Day weekend and it was a success, selling out.

"I think that was very positive," Kurt said. "I know when we used to race in Darlington for Labor Day weekend, the Southeast just embraced it then, and they continue to embrace NASCAR now during that entire weekend."

Another thing, however has not changed in NASCAR -- Jimmie Johnson's dominance.

Johnson, who is the four-time defending Cup Series points champion, also has won this season's past two events.

"It's just phenomenal," Kurt said. "He's been the toughest guy to beat week in and week out, and it's up to the rest of us to beat him."

Kevin Harvick, however, leads this year's points standings after three races, just ahead of Clint Bowyer by 47 points. With that in mind, Busch said he hopes to begin his charge up the standings Sunday.

"We need a couple of consistent finishes now so we can bump ourselves up in the points," Busch said.