|Right place, right time for Kyle Busch|
Busch dominated for much of the day, leading a race-high 176 laps. With a lap to go, however, the race seemed destined to come down to Logano and Hamlin, the former teammates turned bitter rivals who have lobbed verbal hand grenades at each other since the season began at Daytona more than a month ago.
The pair ran side-by-side into the final set of turns, until Logano drifted up the track and bounced off Hamlin’s Toyota. Hamlin crashed hard into a concrete retaining wall on the inside of the track, while Logano hit the outside wall. As they tangled, Busch sailed past on the outside, taking the checkered flag in front of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle.
“They forgot about me,” said an elated Busch afterward. “I knew they were going to. I really wanted to get by before (Logano and Hamlin) wrecked. When they both went to the bottom in Turn Four, I thought, `Oh man, this is golden. I’ve got something for them up here!’ We had a good run on the top side, and they were messing with each other so bad that they took each other down. I was just hoping I could get by before they took me with them."
|Logano and Hamlin clashed again Sunday|
"I knew the third place guy was going to win,” said Edwards afterward. “I could feel the tension between Joey and Denny.''
Logano limped his battered ford home sixth, then admitted racing Hamlin harder in the aftermath of last week’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, when his Shell Pennzoil Ford spun off Hamlin’s front bumper while contending for the win. “(It was the) reverse of last week, the opposite of what he did," said Logano. “After the way he raced me last week, that’s what he gets.”
Hamlin climbed from his demolished racer under his own power, but immediately slumped to the ground. He was immediately attended to by track safety workers and transported to the track’s Infield Care Center, where he was reported to be awake and alert.
For the second week in a row, Sunday’s fireworks did not end with the drop of the checkered flag. Former series champion Tony Stewart confronted Logano immediately after the race, upset with a blocking maneuver on the race’s final restart. A handful of punches appeared to be thrown by the drivers and their crews, and afterward, Stewart pulled no punches in criticizing Logano’s tactics.
|Stewart: "I'm going to bust his ass."|
“That little sonofabitch ran us clear down to the infield,” said Stewart, who faded to 22nd at the finish. “He wants to bitch about everyone else, but he’s the one who drives like a little prick. I’m going to bust his ass.”
"I was racing really hard, trying to make sure I protected my spot,” explained Logano. “I had to throw the block there. That was a race for the lead. I felt like if the 14 had gotten underneath me, that was the end of my opportunity to win the race. I was just trying to defend then spot I had. I’ll talk to him about it and see what happens.”
Busch's 25th career Sprint Cup Series victory ended a 31-race winless streak dating back to last April at Richmond International Raceway. He also completed a sweep of the Fontana weekend, after prevailing in Saturday’s Nationwide Series event.
Earnhardt’s runner-up finish came after a botched final pit stop dropped him back to 22nd place, and pushed him into the championship points lead with five races complete.