CONCORD, N.C. — The two hottest drivers in NASCAR lined up side-by-side for a final dash toward a cool $1 million prize.
But when Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch tangled in their race for the lead, Kurt Busch sailed through the carnage to steal a victory in Saturday night's All-Star race.
Kurt Busch, the 2004 series champion, was ecstatic as he crossed the finish line for his first career All-Star race victory.
His younger brother, furious at Hamlin, was waiting back at the team hauler for his teammate after unleashing an expletive-laden tirade over his radio.
"Somebody better keep me away from Denny Hamlin," Kyle Busch shouted. "I swear to God, I am going to kill (him). All his ... fault. I had this race won! It was won!"
Hamlin and Kyle Busch, who have combined to win five of the last seven Sprint Cup Series races for JGR, were racing each other for the lead in the final segment of the annual All-Star event when Hamlin tried to block Kyle Busch's attempt at a pass.
The defensive move pinched Kyle Busch against the wall, and the contact sent him sliding back through the field. He later hit the wall again hard and bounced into Kasey Kahne to officially end his night.
Instead of taking his car to his own team hauler, he drove it over to Hamlin's and angrily punched the air after climbing from the car. Helmet and safety devices still on, he walked directly into Hamlin's truck while team owner Gibbs followed closely.
Hamlin, after finishing fourth, was directed by his team not to go to his truck. He stopped his car at the entrance to the garage, where he was met by several team members who escorted him to the hauler. The doors were closed behind him after he entered.
It took the spotlight away from Kurt Busch, who had no trouble closing out the victory over several late restarts. He beat Martin Truex Jr., who won the preliminary Sprint Showdown to transfer into the main event, by 0.358 seconds.
Joey Logano, the third JGR driver, finished third and said he would avoid stopping by Hamlin's hauler.
"I know nothing," he laughed. "I am not going near them. All I know is they are cool with me."