CONCORD, N.C. -- Kurt Busch used a lightning fast final pit stop to chase down the leaders and give team owner Roger Penske a coveted Memorial Day weekend victory.
That the win came in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and not at his beloved Indianapolis Motor Speedway, probably didn't matter to Penske.
After all, it came at the expense of Chip Ganassi, Penske's top rival in open-wheel racing and the winning car owner of the Indianapolis 500 earlier Sunday.
"Roger, this one is for you," Busch said. "The first person I think about is Roger Penske. This is something that will be front and center in Roger's trophy case that I was happy to deliver."
Busch, who led 252 of the 400 laps, and Ganassi driver Jamie McMurray were the class of the field at the end of NASCAR's longest race of the season, and McMurray was hoping to give Ganassi a sweep of the two prestigious Memorial Day weekend races. Earlier Sunday, Dario Franchitti won in Indianapolis and, after the celebration, Ganassi flew to North Carolina to catch the second half of the NASCAR race.
He arrived in time to see McMurray work his Chevrolet through the field and ultimately take over the lead from Busch. But a late caution for a Marcos Ambrose crash with 24 laps to go took it out of McMurray's hands. He led most of the leaders down pit road, but was beat back onto the track by Busch and Matt Kenseth. Jeff Gordon was the first of three cars not to pit, and restarted as the leader with 19 laps remaining.
Busch blew past the three lead cars and steadily pulled away from the pack. McMurray quickly moved into second, but ran out of time to run down Busch, who held on to sweep the May races at Charlotte. Busch won the $1 million All-Star race last weekend.
Ganassi didn't seem to mind the defeat. "It was a great race, Jamie did a great job," he smiled. "My old buddy Penske beat me tonight."
Kyle Busch rallied from a mid-race crash on pit road to finish third in a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. Mark Martin finished fourth -- the highest finishing Hendrick Motorsports car -- and defending race winner David Reutimann was fifth for Michael Waltrip Racing.
Gordon wound up sixth and was followed by Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard, who had the highest finishing Ford. Ryan Newman and Kenseth rounded out the top 10.
While Kurt Busch celebrated, his younger brother was getting an earful on pit road from a furious Jeff Burton.
Burton was eighth on the final restart, running right next to Kyle Busch, when contact between the two cars ruined any chance for a solid finish for Burton. He faded to 25th and angrily confronted Busch after the race.
"Kyle made it three-wide on the restart, trying to make something happen, which I don't have a problem with," Burton said. "So he runs into me and cuts my left-rear tire, then I have a problem with it. He's real aggressive. That's cool. But when he starts affecting me with his aggressiveness, I just will not put up with it. I've been around here long enough. I just will not tolerate it."
Busch was the leader when a bizarre sequence of events on Lap 167 changed the entire race.
Four-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson was running fourth when he inexplicably hit the wall, and Denny Hamlin, running fifth, had to weave low through the grass to avoid hitting him. Both cars suffered considerable damage and NASCAR called for a caution that sent everyone to pit road.
Kyle Busch, at the time the strongest car in the race, ran into Brad Keselowski on pit road to damage his car. Even worse, NASCAR flagged him for speeding and he was forced to also serve a penalty.
It dropped Kyle Busch all the way back to 26th in a race he maybe could have won.
He thought Burton's lecture was directed at the wrong driver -- Busch said it was Bowyer, not him, who made it three-wide with Burton on the restart -- but still seemed pleased with the final outcome.
"It was a great night for us," he said.
Johnson, meanwhile, wrecked a second time later in the race to finish a surprising 37th. It was Johnson's fifth consecutive double-digit finish -- he's not been inside the top-10 since he was second at Texas in April.
"We've been through ups and downs," Johnson said. "Everyone else is overreacting and saying we're in some type of slump. Tonight, we just had some back luck and I made a mistake. (Stuff) happens."