FONTANA -- With tires and tempers blowing up all over the track for 400 crazy miles, Kyle Busch stayed calm and relied on his remarkable knack for big finishes at Fontana.
Busch won on this 2-mile oval for the second straight year Sunday, holding off Kyle Larson, Tony Stewart and his older brother Kurt on a frantic two-lap sprint to the finish.
Kyle Busch capably blocked Larson and outlasted a crowded field to win a race featuring a track-record 35 lead changes and numerous tire problems. Busch stayed out of trouble and roared up late for his second straight stunner in Southern California, following up the Las Vegas native's final-lap surge to victory a year ago.
"Holy cow, what do you expect when you've got a green-white-checkered finish and everybody has to come down pit road and put four tires on?" Busch said after his third career win at Fontana. "That was 'Days of Thunder' right there. Unbelievable day."
With his 29th career Sprint Cup victory in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, Kyle Busch is NASCAR's fifth winner in five races already this season. He led just five laps -- the fewest of his career in a win.
Jimmie Johnson was comfortably in front when he blew a tire with seven laps left, precipitating the wild finish. Jeff Gordon moved in front until Clint Bowyer spun with two laps to go, setting up an overtime finish.
Gordon was hoping to finish on old tires when Bowyer spun, but then elected to pit along with most of the leaders. Kurt Busch gambled with just two new tires, allowing him to restart in second, but his younger brother came up from fifth in the final two laps to win.
"I came off the fourth turn in disbelief that we won this thing, because we were mediocre all day," Kyle Busch said. "It was really weird for us, not a race that we're typically used to. But now there's a load off your shoulders that you can go out the rest of the season and race the way you want to."
He also got a thrill from outlasting Larson, the 21-year-old rookie who held him off Saturday to win the Nationwide Series race.
Kurt Busch finished third, with Matt Kenseth in fourth and 2012 champion Stewart in fifth.
Several teams had serious tire problems on this weathered track, with multiple flats and cautions for various problems throughout the hot afternoon.
The problems likely were the latest effect of NASCAR's new aero rules, which are producing higher speeds that lead to extra stress on the tires -- particularly on the bumpy asphalt on Fontana's back straightaway, which already wears out tires aggressively.
The intrigue and weirdness started early on at Fontana. Several drivers complained during an early pit stop that the red light was on, indicating pit road was closed. Gordon, Bowyer and Brad Keselowski did not pit because of the red light, and all were adamant NASCAR needed to correct their position in the running order.
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president of competition, was told that the official in charge of displaying the flag got his uniform caught in a hole in a fence and couldn't move, preventing him from flipping off the red light.
Fontana didn't get a repeat of last year's exciting duel between Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano, the unfriendly rivals who crashed into each other on the final lap while racing for the win. Hamlin, who suffered a broken vertebra in last year's crash, was a last-minute scratch Sunday with a sinus infection.
Carl Edwards finished 10th and stayed one point ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished 12th, for the overall points lead.