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By then, Kyle Busch had moved back into second, the same spot he had been before a right front tire went down and he went high to scrap in the wall on lap 57 to bring out a caution. Busch, who won the spring race in Texas, finished 13th.

When Busch went into the wall, he was between Johnson and Kenseth, who were 1-2 going into pit road. The top two Chase contenders didn’t exit that way.

While Johnson had a quick stop, he was second out behind polesitter Carl Edwards, who had the stall closest to the scoring line. Kenseth has an issue on his stop that dropped him to sixth.

Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon was in contention for another championship after his win a week earlier at Martinsville moved him up to a season-high third in points.

But on lap 74, the front left tire on the No. 24 Chevrolet blew, sending Gordon high and hard into the wall between the first and second turns. His team took a long time to make repairs and he was able to return to the race late, finishing 38th and 187 laps off the pace.

Edwards, who had been the only three-time Cup winner at Texas, led six different times for 38 times. But Edwards finished only 187 laps before an engine failure ended his day.