Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson. Those were the three guys everyone picked to win the Sprint Cup title.

Nobody gave South Boston's Jeff Burton a chance.

And that's exactly how Burton likes it.

Burton thrust himself into title contention Saturday night, using savvy pit strategy to win at Lowe's Motor Speedway and slice into Johnson's points lead on a night when several contenders lost sight of the title.

"Nobody's giving us a chance except for us, and all those guys have a tremendous amount to lose," Burton said. "We've got nothing to lose and we're just hanging it out there and seeing what happens."

Three poor finishes at the start to the Chase for the championship knocked Busch, the regular-season points leader, out of contention.

Now Edwards is teetering on the edge after a 33rd-place finish Saturday night dropped him to fourth in the standings.

Burton's win, his second of the season, pushed him two spots in the standings to second. He trails Johnson by 69 points with five races to go.

"We're just having fun. We're paying attention to us," Burton said. "We're not going to get caught up in this. We're paying attention to it, but we're not going to get caught up in it. If we don't win the championship, our year is not a failure. We weren't one of the teams that set that bar up there.

"We're just laying it out there and having a good time."

Johnson, seeking a third consecutive title, finished sixth and insisted he never counted out Burton.

"He's always been on my radar screen," Johnson said. "He's been doing this a long time. He knows the tracks. He knows how to race cars. He's been out there a long time and he knows how to race and get points."

He proved that Saturday night with three gas-only pit stops, including fuel only to make sure he was still out front on the final restart with 34 laps to go.

Kasey Kahne, who swept the May races at the track, finished second and was followed by Kurt Busch.

Kyle Busch, the regular-season points winner, was fourth for his best finish since the Chase began five weeks ago. Jamie McMurray was fifth, and Johnson faded over the final few laps to finish sixth.

Greg Biffle, Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin and David Ragan rounded out the top 10.

The night was a disaster for several Chase contenders, including Edwards, who entered the race second in the standings. He lost power in his Ford early and finished 33rd to likely lose his shot at his first Sprint Cup title.

It ended a drama-filled week for Edwards, who caused a 12-car accident last Sunday in Talladega then scuffled with Kevin Harvick in the garage area at Lowe's.

Edwards left fourth in the standings, 168 behind Johnson.