It wouldn't be a short track race without frayed nerves and angry words, and that was the case Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway.
Following a green-white-checkered restart, Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart were jockeying for position on what was a mad scramble on the final lap. Busch used his front bumper to move Stewart out of the groove, sliding back through the field.
Busch went on to finish ninth, Stewart 18th.
On the cool-down lap Stewart took exception to Busch's aggressiveness and drove him up the track, pinning the No. 78 car against the wall. Busch responded in kind and drove into the side of Stewart's car as the two came down pit road to make their way to the garage.
From there it seemed a given that more fireworks would inevitably follow.
But outside of a few choice words back and forth, that was the end of the theatrics between the two former Cup champions.
"Tony and I talked it over; it's a free-for-all at the end," Busch said.
Stewart declined comment afterward. Understandable, when you consider a year filled with results that are well below his standards, Richmond seemed to be an opportunity to post a rare good finish.
He also wasn't the only driver to express displeasure with Busch, who made a few enemies throughout the course of the night.
With a little over 50 laps to go, Busch was running third behind Martin Truex Jr. when Busch hooked the rear of his car and spun him out heading into Turn 3.
Post race, Truex simply said, "He didn't need to do that."
Matt Kenseth was more candid, saying Busch "probably had one of his Kurt moments" following a testy last lap exchange that like his encounter with Stewart carried over past the conclusion of the race.
Busch shrugged off these incidents as just typical hard, short track racing.
"A green-white-checkered at the end, it is just chaos," Busch said. "Cars are everywhere. People are beating and banging and shoving each other out of the way. It's pretty wild."
What Busch was more focused on was the continued promise Richmond represented.
In his first season with Furniture Row Racing, a single-car outfit with limited resources, Busch has provided an instant spark and elevated the team to new heights.
In a number of races this season the 78 has shown speed and has been a fixture near the front of the field and were it not for some misfortune, Busch could have easily won a couple of races. And at one point Saturday night it appeared he was on the cusp of that breakthrough victory with his new team.
"It was an awesome run just to be in the top-five all night," he said. "Just nice and steady, waiting for the race to come to us."
But a late caution with four laps remaining jumbled the running order and led to the madness that were the closing laps of the Toyota Owners 400.
"Some guys cycled ahead of us," Busch said. "Some guys we were able to get back by on long runs. So all in all, it was a great night for us to be in the top five, have restarts up front, and lead some laps.
"And then, you could just tell. Green-white-checkered; everybody is going to put on tires. Some guys are going to do two. Some guys stayed out. And it's just a free for all."