LAS VEGAS -- Kyle Busch notched the biggest win of his young career Sunday by driving from the back of the field to win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his hometown track.
Although there are far more hallowed tracks in NASCAR, this 1.5-mile oval in the desert was where "The Wild Thing" most wanted to win.
He came prepared at the start of the weekend, beating big brother Kurt for the pole to put brothers on the front row for the first time since 2000. But an engine change in his motor meant he had to drop to the back of the field at the start of the race, and Busch had to power his way through the field.
He took the lead with 57 laps to go, then lost it during a late round of pit stops. Busch was third on a restart with 22 laps to go, then chased down Jeff Burton and leader Clint Bowyer to move out front again.
"Say goodnight, Gracie," spotter Jeff Dickerson radioed.
Busch had to hold off the competition over two final restarts for his first victory of the season, and first win at Las Vegas in six career Cup Series starts.
He celebrated with thick burnouts through the grass, then apparently blew his engine again. Enveloped in thick white plumes of smoke, he emerged from the clouds to make his trademark bow to the crowd.
He then collected the checkered flag from NASCAR, and kneeled to kiss the finish line on the track.
"I tell you what, this is pretty cool," Busch said. "I didn't know exactly what it would mean, but coming to the checkered flag, there were knots in my stomach. It's bigger than winning the Daytona 500. I said it wasn't going to be, but it is."
Bowyer finished second and Burton was third, bouncing back from a horrible run last week at California.
David Reutimann, one of the five Toyota drivers who had to change a motor this weekend, finished fourth and was followed by Bobby Labonte and Jeff Gordon, who missed pit road late in the race and blew his tire on the subsequent trip around the track.
Greg Biffle was seventh and Brian Vickers, another Toyota driver with an engine change, was eighth. Jamie McMurray and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top 10.
Jimmie Johnson, strong all afternoon, wrecked with six laps to go to finish 24th.
Carl Edwards' motor blew with two laps to go while he was running fourth. He finished 17th.
Matt Kenseth, trying to become the first driver in NASCAR history to win the first three races of the season, lost his engine six laps into the race and finished last. In all, Roush Fenway Racing lost three of five motors.