Fontana NASCAR: Kyle Busch wins as Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin clash
|By Connell Sanders Jr||Sunday, March 24th 2013, 22:29 GMT|
Kyle Busch snatched victory in the Fontana NASCAR Sprint Cup race as bitter foes Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin collided fighting for the lead on the last lap.
They then ended up head to head for victory at Fontana, beginning the final lap side by side, only to clash at Turn 3.
Logano slid into the outside wall while Hamlin made heavy head-on contact with the inside barrier. Hamlin got out of his car unaided but was suffering from lower back pain and was taken to hospital for observation.
There was further drama to come post-race, as Logano was accosted in the pitlane by an enraged Tony Stewart, who he blocked at the final restart.
Busch and Logano had dominated most of the race, working their way back to the front whatever strategies others employed.
They appeared vulnerable at the last restart with 10 laps to go as most cars behind had just pitted for fresh tyres.
Hamlin was the fastest of that group, charging to the front to begin his fateful battle with Logano.
Busch swept around both as they banged doors, and his Gibbs Toyota was clearly ahead even before they spun.
Dale Earnhardt Jr recovered from a slow mid-race pitstop to finish second for Hendrick, claiming the points lead as Jimmie Johnson and an overheating Brad Keselowski could only manage 12th and 23rd respectively.
Kurt Busch fought for the lead several times and was initially credited with third for Furniture Row.
NASCAR later reviewed video footage of the wild finish and ruled that Logano's battered car had crossed the line third rather than the initially listed sixth, and dropped Busch to fifth.
Busch was one of several drivers who needed repairs early on after sliding into the wall on oil from Timmy Hill's wilting Ford.
Roush Fenway duo Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle completed were fourth and sixth, the latter despite starting at the back due to an engine change, with early leader Matt Kenseth seventh.
Results - 200 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota 2h57m19.000s 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet + 1.261s 3. Joey Logano Penske Ford + 2.475s 4. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford + 2.600s 5. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet + 2.759s 6. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford + 2.810s 7. Matt Kenseth Gibbs Toyota + 3.481s 8. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet + 4.113s 9. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet + 4.265s 10. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 4.505s 11. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet + 4.941s 12. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet + 5.274s 13. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet + 5.819s 14. Aric Almirola Petty Ford + 5.912s 15. Casey Mears Germain Ford + 6.187s 16. AJ Allmendinger Phoenix Chevrolet + 6.579s 17. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet + 7.158s 18. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota + 8.314s 19. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet + 8.995s 20. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford + 9.440s 21. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet + 14.476s 22. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 24.608s 23. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford + 27.944s 24. David Ragan Front Row Ford + 43.650s 25. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota + 1 lap* 26. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 1 lap 27. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet + 1 lap 28. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota + 1 lap 29. David Gililland Front Row Ford + 2 laps 30. Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet + 6 laps 31. David Stremme Swan Toyota + 7 laps 32. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota + 7 laps 33. David Reutimann BK Toyota + 8 laps* 34. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota + 12 laps 35. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota + 16 laps* 36. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford + 18 laps 37. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota + 21 laps 38. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet + 31 laps * Not running at finish Retirements: Timmy Hill FAS Lane Ford 108 laps Josh Wise Front Row Ford 103 laps Scott Riggs Xxxtreme Ford 66 laps Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 60 laps Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 44 laps