Tempers flare as Kurt Busch steals Bristol win

Kurt Busch waited until the closing laps of the race to make his move on Matt Kenseth. When the time was right, and Kenseth was slowed by a lapped car, Busch put the bumper to the No. 17 Roush Ford stealing the win at Bristol Motor...

Kurt Busch waited until the closing laps of the race to make his move on Matt Kenseth. When the time was right, and Kenseth was slowed by a lapped car, Busch put the bumper to the No. 17 Roush Ford stealing the win at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Busch managed to grab his first win in the No. 2 Penske Dodge in dramatic fashion. He had an early race tire issue that forced him to make a green flag pit stop dropping him a lap down. He also lost radio communication with his crew for a good chunk of the event. It is his fifth win at Bristol and 15th of his career.

"This is unreal," Busch said. "To have this car and the determination from the crew today, we had a flat tire early and we bounced back from that. I am so happy to have a chance to drive this car.

"We had to muscle past Matt Kenseth; he's a good friend of mine. Sorry Matt, he'll be OK with it."

Kenseth wasn't okay with it. The move not only cost him the win, but allowed Kevin Harvick to slide by and grab second place.

"It was a good race for us," said Harvick who earned his first top five of the season. "We got behind here the first four races and we just needed to have a good run. We put ourselves in the position to win and we just came up one spot short."

Kenseth settled for third and was not amused.

As he struggled to recover from the bump from Busch, he inadvertently dumped Jeff Gordon who was running fourth at the time. He was greeted by an angry Gordon on pit road after the race. When Kenseth tried to apologize, the usual dignified four time champ gave him a great big shove.

"The end wasn't that good, but overall it was a good day for us," said Kenseth. "I got into Gordon there in the end and I didn't mean too although everyone thinks I did.I should have known better than to go over there, I just wanted to be a man and apologize. I really didn't mean it but I don't know if he's going to believe that."

On Busch, Kenseth was clearly not in a forgiving mood, "I wouldn't have done that to him. I wouldn't have been able to be smiling in Victory Lane and take that trophy home and be able to sleep tonight."

Carl Edwards and Bobby Labonte complete the top five.

Morning snow showers gave way to partly cloudy skies and chilly temperatures, but the Cup race started on time with Stewart bringing the field to the green flag. On lap 12, the first caution fell and they just kept coming after that.

There were four multi car crashes. The first causing the seventh caution and coming at lap 187, it involved Clint Bowyer, David Stremme, Michael Waltrip, Brian Vickers and Dave Blaney. There was a 15-minute red flag period while crews cleaned up the race track. When the field finally restarted on lap 199 Kenseth led the way.

Several debris cautions slowed the grid as well as three different incidents involving Brent Sherman.

The second multi-car crash on lap 261 brought out caution 11 and involved Stremme, Stanton Barrett, Jamie McMurray, Sherman, Ryan Newman, Reed Sorenson and Casey Mears.

Stewart swapped spots with Harvick a few times before settling into the lead. On lap 349, caution fourteen waved, when Jeremy Mayfield made contact with Jeff Green which sent Sterling Marlin into Mears.

Stewart continued his charge until lap 386 when Kurt Busch powered the No. 2 Dodge out front. LePage cut a tire and hit the wall on lap 407 bringing out the 15th caution flag. That brought the leaders to pit road with Kenseth getting out first for the restart on lap 413 trailed by Busch. They did not even make one circuit before caution 16 came out for a multi-car crash involving Martin Truex, Jr., Gordon, Burton and Kasey Kahne.

The race restarted on lap 417 with the No. 17 Ford still in the catbird seat. On lap 436, Truex attempted to pay Gordon back for the lap 414 accident, but Truex couldn't play with the big dogs. Gordon and Stewart dumped him and sent the No. 1 Chevy into the wall causing the 17th caution.

Kenseth still led when the field went back to green on lap 445 but Blaney spinning on lap 448 slowed the field for the 18th time. The race went back to green on lap 451 with Kenseth, Busch and Harvick in the top three spots.

With eight to go, Busch started to put pressure on Kenseth when the No. 17 Ford got trapped behind the lapped car of Jarrett. Busch got up on Kenseth's bumper on lap 49 and punted Kenseth out of the way for the lead and to garner his first win of the season.

There were 18 cautions for 103 laps and 22 lead changes among nine drivers.

Matt Kenseth takes over the lead in NASCAR Nextel point standings. Kasey Kahne (-8), Jimmie Johnson (-19), Mark Martin (-32), Kyle Busch (-105), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-118), Jeff Gordon (-138), Casey Mears (-140), Tony Stewart (-181) and Dale Jarrett (-189) compete the top five.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Kevin Harvick , Jeff Green , Sterling Marlin , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Casey Mears , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Kasey Kahne , Brent Sherman , Martin Truex Jr. , Stanton Barrett , Brian Vickers , Carl Edwards , David Stremme , Clint Bowyer , Dave Blaney , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin