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Kyle Busch wins at Sprint Cup race at Dover as pit-road penalty costs Jimmie Johnson

Kyle Busch, left, battles with Jimmie Johnson at Dover International Speedway. The two combined to lead 356 of 400 laps in the Sprint Cup Autism Speaks 400, 225 by Johnson.

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Kyle Busch, left, battles with Jimmie Johnson at Dover International Speedway. The two combined to lead 356 of 400 laps in the Sprint Cup Autism Speaks 400, 225 by Johnson.

Sprint Cup points

Through 12 of 36 races. The top 12 drivers through 26 races make the Chase for the Championship.

Driver Pts. Back

Kevin Harvick 1,768—

Kyle Busch 1,699 69

Matt Kenseth 1,642 126

Jimmie Johnson 1,637 131

Denny Hamlin 1,618 150

Jeff Gordon 1,605 163

Greg Biffle 1,581 187

Jeff Burton 1,569 199

Kurt Busch 1,531 237

Carl Edwards 1,487 281

Mark Martin 1,475 293

Martin Truex 1,434 334

Note: Points unofficial; NASCAR posts official standings today

Up next

All-Star Showdown and All-Star Race (a nonpoints race), 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, N.C. TV: Speed Channel

DOVER, Del. — Kyle Busch would like to believe he would have defeated Jimmie Johnson on Sunday even without the four-time champion making a rare pit road mistake.

Busch never will know, and he doesn't really care.

When Johnson was penalized for speeding on the final pit stop in the Autism Speaks 400, that was all the opportunity Busch needed to pull away and win his second race in two days at Dover International Speedway.

Johnson made a quick burst out of the box and accelerated trying to catch a departing Busch coming off pit road. Busch joked that he wanted to "coax him into speeding a little bit."

"I don't know if that happened or not, but I'm going to say it did," Busch said.

Busch's victory capped a wildly successful weekend for the Joe Gibbs Racing driver.

Busch missed a sweep of races in NASCAR's three top series in one weekend — which would have been a first — by just a couple of gallons of gas.

He was in position to win the trucks race Friday on the 1-mile concrete track but ran out of gas at the end as Tampa's Aric Almirola won. He easily took the checkered flag in Saturday's second-tier Nationwide series and raced about 800 miles in three days.

"It's not going to hurt my feelings too bad to go to bed tonight and know that I lost Friday," Busch said. "I'm going to think more about (Sunday)."

Busch swapped the lead with Johnson throughout most of Sunday's 400-mile race run in front of thousands of empty seats. He expected the duel to continue until Johnson was clocked at 40.09 mph in a 35 mph zone.

"I just had too much forward bite leaving the pit box and got going too fast and got busted," Johnson said.

Busch was sorry to be denied an epic late-race showdown.

"Unfortunately for those guys, they got busted for speeding, and we weren't able to beat them outright and race them around the end of the race," Busch said. "I'm going on a limb to say we could beat them today with or without the penalty."

Johnson, who won both Dover races last year, finished 16th after having the dominant car most of the race. Johnson led 225 laps to Busch's 131.

"I ran my guts out trying to pass him," Johnson said. "It's unfortunate we didn't have a chance there at the end."

Jeff Burton was second, followed by Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin.

Zephyrhills' David Reutimann was next, for his first top-five finish since the series' opener, the Daytona 500.

"We've been running really well, it's just that we haven't been able to close the deal," Reutimann said "Having a fifth-place finish the way our season has been going, man, it feels really good."

Johnson recorded DNF's in two of his previous three races and gave other drivers a feeling that he might finally be vulnerable.

Kenseth said it was too early to count out Johnson.

"It looked like he was going to win today," he said.

Busch moved into second in the standings behind seventh-place finisher Kevin Harvick.

Joe Gibbs Racing has been putting pressure on Johnson's four-year reign atop the standings. JGR drivers Busch and Hamlin have been two of the hottest drivers over Johnson's seven-race winless stretch and expect to contend for the title over the final 10 races.

"We're just getting started really here," owner Joe Gibbs said. "I'm thrilled that the last seven or eight weeks have gone so well for us, but the reality is, that can all turn in a week."

STEWART TURNAROUND: Tony Stewart had a race to celebrate.

In a long slump that left him outside the 12 Chase for the Championship spots, Stewart was ninth for his first top-10 finish in seven races.

The two-time Cup champion hadn't finished better than 16th in any of his previous six.

"It slowed the bleeding down a little bit," he said.

Kyle Busch wins at Sprint Cup race at Dover as pit-road penalty costs Jimmie Johnson 05/16/10 [Last modified: Sunday, May 16, 2010 10:37pm]
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