Kyle Busch was dominate on Sunday, leading 125 laps of the 200 run at California Speedway, including the most important one, the final lap.
Busch proved he had the car to beat, but a series of restarts shuffled things up and he found himself battling back and forth with Joey Logano in the closing laps. Logano was able to get by Busch with just six laps remaining, followed closely by Denny Hamlin.
Logano and Hamlin battled over the closing laps, just like they have done in the media and on twitter in the previous week after a post race scuffle in Bristol. On the final lap, the two made contact numerous times, while Busch watched the whole thing sitting in third.
Heading into turn three, the contact became too much for the drivers to control. It put Logano into the outside wall and sent Hamlin hard into the inside wall, which did not contain Nascars safer barrier, designed to soften the impact. Hamlin’s car bounced off the wall, picking the tires up off the ground. Hamlin would have to be airlifted out. He later found out that he has a compression fracture in his lower back and will miss at least five races.
Busch kept his foot on the gas, driving high above the crashing leaders and coasting to his first victory of the season, first ever for Joe Gibbs Racing at California. Busch also won the Nationwide Series race in dominating fashion on Saturday.
Logano managed to drive his smashed call across the finish line and finish third on the day. Tony Stewart took issue with the way Logano drove him on the final restart with 10 laps to go. Logano had started on the inside and went down low to the apron to block Stewart, who was challenging for the lead. Stewart confronted Logano, trying to land a punch, while Logano tossed his water bottle at Stewart. Nascar has decided not to levy any actions against either driver for their front stretch performance.
Rounding out the top five, were Dale Earnhardt Jr in second. Carl Edwards was fourth and Kyle’s brother Kurt Busch, who posted his second top five in two weeks.
The series takes a week off before heading to Martinsville and the first night race of the year at Texas.
News and Notes:
It is now reported that Elliott Sadler will jump in the Fed-Ex car for Denny Hamlin, while Hamlin recovers over the next few weeks. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is now atop the points standings and leads last season’s champ Brad Keselowski by 12 points.
Earnhardt has been the model of consistency, as the only driver to run all five races in the top 10.