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Kahne puts Red Bull into victory lane

"What we did over the last five years was absolutely spectacular," said Johnson after the race. "I'm definitely disappointed that we won't be able to go to Homestead and race for our sixth, but that's motorsports. It's a very tough business."

Keselowski dropped a lap off the lead with his final stop and finished 18th place, just one ahead of Kevin Harvick. In terms of championship points that left Keselowski in fourth place, 65pts off Edwards; and Harvick in third place with 51pts. With less than 50pts available per race, that means that Harvick is also now formally eliminated from title contention, as are Kurt Busch after his fuel issue, underperforming Hendrick duo Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, and Matt Kenseth after his clash with Vickers.

And then there was Kyle Busch, who would have been hoping for an inconspicuous, uneventful day at the office after being in the eye of the 'parking' storm at Texas. Even his #18 car looked in disguise, stripped of the distinctive, colourful livery of sponsors M&Ms who wanted to put some distance between themselves and NASCAR's bad boy for the remainder of the season.

Busch had to start from the back of the grid after needing an engine change in Friday practice following what was described as a 'human error' by the crew. Despite that, he'd worked himself up to the front and at one point was running in third place, but then on lap 187 he suddenly dropped low down the track and radioed in that his car was blowing up - the replacement engine had gone the way of its predecessor. "No indication this time," Kyle said afterwards. "Catastrophic engine failure ... It's terrible to have one in a weekend, let alone two."

So with everyone else now out of the running and just three points between them, it's wide open as to whether Edwards or Stewart will be crowned champion this time next week.

"Homestead is going to be a lot of fun, I really enjoy racing there," said Edwards, who has an impressive record of results at the Miami speedway. "I don't know that there is a better place to go than Homestead to fight for this championship."

"We'll just keep doing what we're doing," insisted Stewart, whose Homestead record is rather less than rock solid. "We have a third and two wins in the last three races so we're going to keep the pressure on him and we'll make him sweat it out."

As for the outgoing champion, Jimmie Johnson, he admitted that one upside of being out of contention for the 2011 title was that he would be a lot less stressed about the final race of the season for once: "I'll definitely have more fun and get a lot of sleep going in there. I'll bet you the #99 and the #14 won't!

"I'll have fun watching from the sidelines," he added.

Full race results and times available.

by Andrew Lewin



Related Pictures

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Tony Stewart leads fellow Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers Matt Kenseth and Carl Edwards during the Kobalt Tools 500 on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. [Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images]
The #4 Red Bull Racing Team celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt Tools 500 on Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. [Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR]
Kasey Kahne celebrates winning the 24th Annual Kobalt Tools 500, his 12th victory in 287 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. Last win was Sept. 6, 2009 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This breaks an 81-race winless streak. [Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR]
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Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for fifth position Friday, March 27, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. Johnson is seventh in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings.(Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
A view of a decal placed on the #14 Code 3 Associates / Mobil 1 Chevrolet, driven by Tony Stewart (not pictured), during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano (left), driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
Joey Logano (left), driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, poses with Miss Coors Light Rachel Rupert after winning the Coors Light Pole Award for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 27, 2015 in Martinsville, Virginia.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane with girlfriend Paige White after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 DeWalt Toyota, pits during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Wurth Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brian Vickers, driver of the Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota, answers questions from media during a press conference before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. Vickers was forced to withdraw from competition due to blood clots. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s/Budweiser Chevrolet, races during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads the field during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 at Auto Club Speedway on March 22, 2015 in Fontana, California. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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T - Unregistered

November 14, 2011 10:52 PM

Hope Tony pulls it off -4 wins from 9 races versus none for 'Cousin' Carl. Says a lot about Nascars scoring system... Kenseth Vs Vickers - Most drivers thought it was retaliation, Vickers counter claimed Kenseth brake tested him and Nascar ignored the clash completely ! No wonder kyle Busch fans where protesting outside Nascars HQ



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