The old saying goes, "If you ain't first, you're last."
That statement certainly held true Saturday night, as Kurt Busch won NASCAR's All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, cashing in on the winner's grand prize of $1 million.
Capitalizing on a tangle between race leader Denny Hamlin and younger brother Kyle Busch on lap 93 of 100, the elder Busch blasted his "Blue Deuce" from fifth to first and never looked back, avoiding two late cautions and holding off a fast-charging Martin Truex, Jr. for the victory.
As Busch crossed the finish line for his first career All-Star race win, younger brother Kyle sat waiting at Hamlin's hauler.
Battling for the lead on lap 93, Kyle Busch tried to squeeze by teammate Denny Hamlin on the outside, but ran out of room, slamming the outside wall and dropping from second to fifth.
Busch accused Hamlin of "cutting him off" and didn't mind sharing his feelings with his team and a national television audience.
"Somebody better keep me away from Denny Hamlin after this race,'' Busch screamed over his team's radio transmitter. "I swear to God, I'm going to kill that [expletive]. His entire [expletive] fault! I had this race won! It was won!''
He later blew a tire and bounced off the wall in the tri-oval, collecting Kasey Kahne in the accident, before driving his mangled M&M's Toyota into the garage and straight to Hamlin's hauler.
Kyle Busch, Hamlin, and team owner Joe Gibbs would have a private meeting to discuss the incident in the team's hauler, with all parties coming away "cooled down," according to Hamlin.
But the fireworks in the garage area had nothing to do with the fireworks over Victory Lane, as Kurt Busch celebrated his first win of the season.
"Man, this car was a rocket ship at the end," said Busch. "This is huge. This is one of the big marquee events. We were able to dodge the wrecks and, ultimately, we had the fastest car when it counted."
Hamlin led the field after a 10-minute break and mandatory pit stops, followed by Kyle Busch and Jimmie Johnson, but the altercation between Hamlin and [Kyle] Busch allowed [Kurt] Busch to squeak by for the lead and ultimately, the victory.
Busch's win added icing to the cake for team owner Roger Penske, whose IndyCar driver Helio Castroneves qualified first earlier in the day for next week's running of the Indianapolis 500 .
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