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Jimmie Johnson's wreck slices his points lead as Kurt Busch foils brother's shot at history

Kurt Busch wins when brother Kyle runs out of gas trying to be the first to win all three races in a weekend.

Associated Press

Kurt Busch wins when brother Kyle runs out of gas trying to be the first to win all three races in a weekend.

FORT WORTH, Texas — Jimmie Johnson's drive to history took a hard hit against a wall and Kyle Busch ran out of gas trying to complete an unprecedented NASCAR trifecta.

Kurt Busch drove to Victory Lane at Texas in the Dickies 500 after his younger brother ran out of fuel with 2½ laps left Sunday, finishing 129 laps ahead of the rebuilt car driven by Johnson, who saw his points lead slashed from 184 to 73 over Hendrick teammate Mark Martin with two races left.

"It was definitely not the day we wanted," Johnson said. "It's not as bad as it could have been. At one point I was told to hop out of the car, I was done. … It's still a big ouch."

Johnson, the Sprint Cup points leader trying to become the first driver to win four consecutive championships in NASCAR's top series, wrecked on Lap 3 when he was knocked into the wall by Sam Hornish. Johnson finished 38th after his crew needed more than an hour to repair and basically rebuild his No. 48 Chevrolet.

"I'm still in great position. We're going to dust ourselves off," Johnson said. "There's not much we can do, we were in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Coming out of Turn 2, Hornish got loose after being tapped by David Reutimann. Hornish made contact with Johnson, who scraped the outside wall. It looked as if Johnson might save his car before he was hit again by Hornish, then slammed into the inside wall.

"By the time that I knew that I was hit, I was already sideways," Hornish said. "I was just trying to correct it and not get into the 48. Obviously, you don't ever want to detract from the championship when you're not really even involved in it."

Kurt Busch got his second victory of the season in the No. 2 Dodge with lame duck crew chief Pat Tryson, who is leaving to join Michael Waltrip Racing in 2010. Penske Racing only wants Tryson to visit its shop during the weekly competition meeting before races.

Kurt Busch's 20th career victory came by a nearly 26-second margin over Denny Hamlin.

Kyle Busch, who had already won the Nationwide and truck races at Texas Motor Speedway, was trying to become the first driver to win in all three of NASCAR's national series on the same weekend. He led 232 laps and was ahead when his No. 18 Toyota suddenly slowed on the backstretch on Lap 332.

"This is the first time Kyle and I raced each other hard," said Kurt Busch, who led six times for 89 laps. "It's bittersweet, I was rooting for him, but at the same time this is for us."

Kyle Busch had trouble refiring his car after pitting for a splash of fuel and wound up 11th.

Johnson can clinch at Phoenix if he boosts his lead to 195 points. He can win the title by averaging a fourth-place finish the last two races, or fifth if he leads at least one lap in both races.

Sprint Cup points

With two races to go, only these drivers are eligible in the Chase for the Championship:

Driver Pts. Back

Jimmie Johnson 6,297—

Mark Martin 6,224 73

Jeff Gordon 6,185 112

Kurt Busch 6,126 171

Tony Stewart 6,119 178

Juan Montoya 6,061 236

Greg Biffle 6,050 247

Denny Hamlin 5,975 322

Ryan Newman 5,973 324

Kasey Kahne 5,898 399

Carl Edwards 5,857 440

Brian Vickers 5,777 520

Note: Points unofficial; NASCAR posts official standings today

Up next

Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500, 3:15 p.m. Sunday, Phoenix International Raceway. TV: Ch. 28

Gearhead stats

Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth:

Winner's average speed: 147.137 mph

Time of race: 3 hours, 24 minutes, 18 seconds

Margin of victory: 25.686 seconds

Caution flags: 5 for 26 laps

Lead changes: 13 among 4 drivers

Lap leaders: Gordon 1-11; Ku.Busch 12-57; Ky.Busch 58-87; Ku.Busch 88; Ky.Busch 89-145; Hamlin 146-147; Ky.Busch 148-167; Ku.Busch 168; Ky.Busch 169-172; Ku.Busch 173-207; Ky.Busch 208-268; Ku.Busch 269-271; Ky.Busch 272-331; Ku.Busch 332-334.

Jimmie Johnson's wreck slices his points lead as Kurt Busch foils brother's shot at history 11/08/09 [Last modified: Monday, November 9, 2009 8:33am]
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