Kurt Busch probably wouldn't have had it any other way.
Busch beat Jimmie Johnson off two late-race restarts to win the AAA 400 at Dover on Sunday and closed within nine points of new points leaders Kevin Harvick and Carl Edwards.
On the final restart with 35 laps to go, Johnson spun his tires and that allowed Busch to immediately pull away and over the closing laps, Johnson was able to run with Busch, but not get any closer.
The racing between the two over the final stages was clean, adhering to the pledge that was made after Richmond when Busch and Johnson got together twice, the latest chapter to their rivalry that started in earnest in 2010.
And while Busch got the satisfaction of beating Johnson straight up, not once, but twice, it wasn't a lost cause by any means for the No. 48 team. Johnson's second place finish moved him from 10th to fifth in the points standings, four points behind Busch and 13 behind Harvick and Edwards.
Edwards looked to be the car to beat during the first half of the race, but a speeding penalty during a cycle of green flag pit stops ruined his chances for a win. The pass-through penalty knocked Edwards a lap down, and while he was fast enough to work his way through the field after getting the Lucky Dog, he was only able to keep pace with Busch and Johnson at the end of the race.
Tony Stewart, who entered the race as the points leader after winning the first two races of the Chase at Chicago and New Hampshire, struggled mightily all day and finished 25th. Stewart and his crew could never get the car to turn through the middle of the corner and spent most of the day one or more laps down. Stewart, who started the day seven points ahead of Harvick, is now nine back after Harvick's 10th place finish.
- Kurt Busch
- Kevin Harvick
- Jimmie Johnson
- Carl Edwards