NASCAR Martinsville 2014 results: Kurt Busch passes Jimmie Johnson late to win STP 500

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Kurt Busch strong-arms Jimmie Johnson for Martinsville win.

On Sunday at historic Martinsville Speedway, the driver known as "The Outlaw" committed highway robbery.

Bullying his way past six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson with 10 laps left in Sunday's STP 500 at the .526-mile short track, Busch held on to edge Johnson by 0.263 seconds, denying Johnson a ninth Martinsville victory.

A Martinsville winner in 2002, Busch added a second victory at Sprint Cup's oldest current venue to his resume. Busch's 25th career victory was his first triumph in the No. 41 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet and the first victory as a Sprint Cup crew chief for Daniel Knost.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished third in a race that produce a record 33 lead changes and a sixth consecutive different winner to open the 2014 season. Joey Logano ran fourth, followed by Marcos Ambrose and Matt Kenseth.

Kevin Harvick, Aric Almirola, Clint Bowyer and Paul Menard completed the top 10.

Busch stole the victory from Johnson, despite an earlier collision with Brad Keselowski's Ford that cost Keselowski 31 laps.

"We're done," Busch said tersely after running into the back of the No. 2 Team Penske Ford, a car Busch drove for much of his career, to date.

That was far from the truth. Busch worked his way back into contention and restarted third on Lap 466 after caution for Carl Edwards spin in Turn 2. On Lap 473, he got the nose of his car under Johnson's No. 48 Chevy and grabbed the lead.

Ten laps later, Johnson - who led 296 of the 500 laps - regained the top spot with a slight nudge to Busch's bumper, but Johnson fought a loose handling condition the rest of the way and couldn't keep the Stewart-Haas Chevy behind him.

Busch_medium

Photo: Jared C. Tilton

Busch, like Johnson, was driving a Hendrick Motorsports chassis powered by a Hendrick engine.

"I didn't know if we'd be able to do it," Busch said. "The 48 car is king here, him and the 24 (Jeff Gordon, who also has eight Martinsville wins). This is the old theory ‘If you can't beat ‘em, join ‘em.' I had a Hendrick chassis prepared by Stewart-Haas Racing, a Hendrick motor. So thanks to those guys and Chevrolet.

"I've been on this journey for a while, and every time you come to Martinsville, you kind of draw a line, like ‘There's no way I'll be able to challenge those Hendrick guys or be up in the top 10.' These Stewart-Haas guys gave me a car to do it."

Johnson, who has been having uncharacteristic difficulty closing out races of late, did everything possible to keep Busch at bay.

"That's all I had," Johnson said. "I ran the rear tires off the car. I flipped every switch and knob I could to get front brake and turn fans off to try to help bring the balance back. But it was still too loose to get the win."

STP 500 finishing order
Finish Driver Laps
1 Kurt Busch 500
2 Jimmie Johnson 500
3 Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 500
4 Joey Logano 500
5 Marcos Ambrose 500
6 Matt Kenseth 500
7 Kevin Harvick 500
8 Aric Almirola 500
9 Clint Bowyer 500
10 Paul Menard 500
11 A.J. Allmendinger 500
12 Jeff Gordon 500
13 Carl Edwards 500
14 Kyle Busch 500
15 Austin Dillon 500
16 Brian Vickers 500
17 Tony Stewart 500
18 Greg Biffle 500
19 Denny Hamlin 500
20 Ryan Newman 500
21 Martin Truex, Jr. 500
22 Kasey Kahne 500
23 Justin Allgaier 500
24 Casey Mears 500
25 Landon Cassill 500
26 David Gilliland 499
27 Kyle Larson 498
28 David Ragan 497
29 Cole Whitt 497
30 Ryan Truex 496
31 Michael Annett 495
32 Danica Patrick 494
33 Travis Kvapil 493
34 Reed Sorenson 492
35 Josh Wise 492
36 Alex Bowman 488
37 Michael McDowell 474
38 Brad Keselowski 469
39 David Stremme 440
40 Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. 409
41 Parker Kligerman 408
42 Jamie McMurray 396
43 Joe Nemechek 310

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