AVONDALE, Ariz. — When the fighting stopped, the oil had dried and the last of the wrecked cars had been towed away, Brad Keselowski found himself on the brink of a first Sprint Cup title for himself and team owner Roger Penske.
Only he wasn’t in a celebratory mood.
He entered Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway trailing five-time champion Jimmie Johnson by seven points and had the better car all day. And moments after Keselowski raced his way into the lead, a blown tire caused Johnson to crash and take his battered car to the garage for repairs.
“I wanted to take the points lead by winning a race and not relying on a failure," Keselowski said.
It was just the beginning of the drama in the most chaotic race of the year.
Kevin Harvick snapped a 44-race losing streak by beating Kyle Busch on a pair of late restarts, and crossing the finish line ahead of a melee that broke out because NASCAR failed to throw a final caution flag for an oil spill on the track.
It was the final exclamation point in a sequence that included Jeff Gordon slowing his car on the track to wait for Clint Bowyer so he could intentionally wreck him as retaliation for several weeks of on-track contact between the two.
Also on Sunday:
Brown wins NHRA title
POMONA, Calif. — Antron Brown became the first black champion in any NHRA pro series when he won the Top Fuel title at the season-ending event. Brown lost in the opening round of eliminations and had to wait to celebrate until the final, when Tony Schumacher lost in a photo finish to Brandon Bernstein.