HAMPTON, Ga. - Kurt Busch was running out front with three laps to go when things really got interesting.
First, a frightening crash that seemed intentional between two feuding drivers. Then, another spinning, slamming melee before the white flag came out.
"We've got to win this race three times, maybe even four times," a frustrated Busch said on his radio.
Not to worry. Busch survived a couple of overtime restarts and 16 extra laps to win again at Atlanta Motor Speedway, a race marred by accusations that Carl Edwards purposely wrecked Brad Keselowski's car, sending it hurtling toward the main stands upside down.
Busch won the race Sunday at the 1.54-mile trioval for the second year in a row, beating Matt Kenseth to the line by nearly half a second in the Kobalt Tools 500. "The Deuce is back, baby!" Busch said after his No. 2 Dodge took the checkered flag.
The race went 341 laps instead of its scheduled 325 because of two crashes near the end.
Edwards, running 156 laps behind, clipped Keselowski and caused his car to spin, then lift into the air at around 190 mph. It smashed into the barrier in front of the stands roof-first, then flipped back onto the track right side up. Keselowski was OK, but NASCAR summoned Edwards to its trailer.
"That's not cool," Keselowski said. "He could have killed someone in the grandstands."
NASCAR put off a decision on whether to discipline Edwards until at least today.
On the first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, another crash took out seven cars. Finally, they got in two clean laps, and it was Busch all the way for his third career win in Atlanta. Jimmie Johnson's two-race winning streak was snapped.
Keselowski nicked Edwards early, which sent him crashing into Joey Logano. Edwards spent much of the day in the garage, but returned to take out his frustration in what appeared to be an intentional tap on Keselowski. "Brad knows the deal between him and I," Edwards said. "The scary part was his car went airborne, which was not what I expected at all."