Neither Jimmie Johnson nor Kurt Busch had as much to celebrate as race winner Kasey Kahne, but both drivers left Infineon Raceway thankful for having rescued respectable finishes in the face off potential calamity.

Busch had a strong top-five car, until contact from Johnson's Chevrolet sent his Dodge spinning out of control as the cars entered the esses, the section of the 1.99-mile road course that runs through turns eight and nine.

Busch rallied to finish 15th in Sunday's Toyota/Save Mart 350 and took some of the sting out of the accident.

"I initially was thinking that it was a pretty tough day out there when you're running fourth, and a three-time champion dumps you," Busch said. "I was so worried we would go a lap down and finish way back there. He hit the curb and just launched us.

"He came over and apologised right after the race. It was just two champion drivers going after the same spot."

For his part, Johnson incurred a pit-road speeding penalty on lap 29 and spent the rest of the race working his way up to a career-best fourth-place finish at Infineon.

"I passed a lot of cars, so (I'm) very proud of the effort, very proud of the racecar," Johnson said. "Unfortunately, I got together with the #2 (Busch) getting into the esses and got him into the wall, so I had to find him and apologise. It was just a racing deal, nothing more."

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News


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