CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR’s championship race took another turn Saturday night when Matt Kenseth staked a claim on the title with a win at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Kenseth’s victory in the Bank of America 500, his third of the season, was his first since the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship began five races ago.

It pushed him two spots in the standings to third, and he trails leader Carl Edwards by just seven points at the halfway point of the Chase.

As Kenseth was moving toward the victory, the race took a nasty turn for five-time defending series champion Jimmie Johnson.

Running seventh with 17 laps to go, contact between Johnson and Ryan Newman sent Johnson spinning into the wall. His hit was so hard, the back wheels on his car lifted off the track surface.

He finished 34th and dropped to eighth in points.

“That one stung for sure. Pretty big impact,” Johnson said. “Definitely not the night we wanted. This is not going to help us win a sixth championship.”

Kyle Busch had the most dominant car of the race, but was passed by Kenseth on a restart with 25 laps to go and settled for second. It was still a strong comeback — an engine change forced Busch to start last in the 43-car field.

“Just got outdrove,” Busch said. “He just flat drove past me.”

Edwards finished third and was followed by Kasey Kahne and Marcos Ambrose.

Tony Stewart overcame late contact with Greg Biffle to finish 14th. Denny Hamlin was ninth and Ryan Newman rounded out the top 10.

TRUCKS SERIES: Pole-sitter Ron Hornaday Jr. waded through a crash-filled race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for his second straight victory and record 51st overall.

High speeds on the 1.5-mile oval and warm temperatures led to 10 cautions in the 146-lap race, including an early four-car wreck that brought out the red flag.

Hornaday steered clear of the wreckage, backing up his win at Kentucky two weeks ago.

Hornaday, a four-time series champion, climbed back in the points race after leaders Austin Dillon and James Buescher were involved in early crashes.

The 19-year-old Dillon, who led Buescher by three points heading into the race, had trouble right off the bat. He spun out coming around Turn 4 on the third lap and slammed into the wall twice.

Buescher went out after a Lap 28 accident with Blake Feese.

FORMULA ONE: McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton took the pole position for today’s Korean Grand Prix at Yeongam, South Korea, ending Red Bull’s season-long streak.

Hamilton had a lap time of 1 minute, 35.820 seconds — 0.222 seconds faster than Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, who wrapped up his second straight Formula One drivers championship last weekend in the Japanese Grand Prix.

McLaren’s Jenson Button was third, followed by Red Bull’s Mark Webber.