"I knew that whoever came out ahead on that last pit stop between Kurt and I—if somebody didn't screw up—that would be the race winner," McMurray said. "It would take me too many laps to run Kurt back down, and then when you get within 10 or 12 car-lengths, you just stall out.
"I just didn't have enough time at the end."
One short sequence hobbled the cars of three championship contenders. On Lap 167, four-time defending Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson slid sideways off Turn 4, tapping the outside wall with the right rear of his No. 48 Chevrolet.
Johnson's spin forced Denny Hamlin to take evasive action, damaging the front splitter of the No. 11 Toyota as Hamlin rolled through the infield grass. Under caution for Johnson's spin, Kyle Busch, who came to the pits with the lead, collided with Brad Keselowski on pit road, damaging both cars.
In Johnson's case, the spin was the least of his troubles. On Lap 273, Johnson spun off Turn 2 and slammed nose-first into the inside wall. He returned to the track on Lap 306 after extensive repairs to his Chevy and finished 37th.
Kyle Busch recovered from his troubles to run third, but his comeback wasn't without incident. An angry Jeff Burton confronted Busch on pit road after the race. Burton took issue with Busch for late contact between their cars, which resulted in a cut left rear tire on Burton's Chevy and turned a promising run into a 25th-place finish.
"I like racing with Kyle—I really do," Burton said. "I enjoy it, but when he gets overaggressive and I pay the price for it, I won't tolerate it. I'm just not going to put up with it. I don't mind racing with him. I don't mind him being aggressive, but I'm not going to be the victim of his aggressiveness. I'm just not going to put up with it."
Busch had a measured response to Burton's criticism.
"I said, 'Look, man, last restart of the race. You have to go, make some bold moves. It wasn't me that made it three-wide, it was your teammate (Clint Bowyer). Have a chat with him,' " Busch said. "I would be more than happy to sit with Jeff Burton and talk with him about it and for him to point (it) out on a replay to me."