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NASCAR At Sonoma Update: Tempers Flaring As Race Reaches Halfway

Kurt Busch is still dominating at Infineon Raceway, but the story of the race has been fenders flaming, tempers flaring, and NASCAR's Most Popular Driver flaming.

The action started at lap 36 when Juan Pablo Montoya shoved Kyle Busch off course at turn 10. Moments later, Tony Stewart shoved Brian Vickers into Jamie McMurray, triggering a multi-car incident that collected Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt's Chevrolet caught fire not long after, putting Earnhardt - who entered the race third in points - out of the race with engine failure.

After that incident, Denny Hamlin and A.J. Allmendinger traded blows on-track a pair of times, the first sending Martin Truex Jr. for a spin in turn 11 for the second year in a row.

Most recently, Robby Gordon and Joey Logano tangled, leading Logano to shove Gordon nearly into the tire barrier in turn 11. Logano and Gordon have previously traded paint on a road course. In the 2009 Nationwide event at Watkins Glen, Logano's car ended up flames after being shoved off course by Gordon.

Kurt Busch, meanwhile, leads Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr., and Jimmie Johnson.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.