When the winner of the race is not the main storyline is when NASCAR creeps into the conversation.  As evidence, the 2012 Daytona 500 was all about a jet dryer explosion and this year’s season opener was about Danica Patrick finishing 8th.  At Auto Club Speedway on Sunday, Kyle Busch took the checkered flag and Joe Gibbs Racing won their first Sprint Cup race at the track.

No one cares about that, because a feud that’s been broiling since last year directly led to the Busch victory.  Joey Logano did not leave the Gibbs camp on favorable terms with teammate Denny Hamlin.  One week ago at Bristol the two drivers tangled at the front of the field midway through the race.  On Sunday Logano and Hamlin were up front again this time battling on the last lap.  The two could not settle matters in a gentlemanly fashion, leaving Busch to scoot by for the victory.  Logano took 6th after contact with the outside wall that froze the field at the time caution was issued.  Hamlin hit hard on the inside wall on the exit of turn 4 that necessitated a helicopter ride to a local hospital and took 25th place.  See the footage courtesy of FOX Sports below.

Wait, there’s more.  On the last restart with 11 laps left, Tony Stewart was in third spot and tried diving to the inside underneath Logano.  The Penske Racing driver held off the three-time champ with a block that enraged Stewart who lost his momentum on the track relegating his 14 machine to 22nd place.  Afterward, Stewart went straight to Logano’s mangled car on pit road and looked to similarly rearrange Logano’s face.

So who won again?  Oh yeah Toyota got its first Cup win at the track and the Kyle Busch win was the 25th of his career in the top series.  In another development, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took 2nd place and is the championship point leader.  Yawn.  Ol’ Junior will get his time in the sun when the series resumes after Easter at Martinsville Speedway.   Get the official finishing order for the race here.  Plus for more Tony Stewart reaction see below.

Of course that was the cooled down edition of Stewart.  For the hot and fresh Stewart take see this one.

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