Greg Biffle snatched victory from Jimmie Johnson in the Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, claiming his first victory of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.
Roush Fenway racer Biffle made the most of an opportunity to attack Johnson when the leader was slowed down by lapped traffic. With 31 laps remaining, Biffle dove to the inside of Johnson entering Turn 3 and exited Turn 4 powersliding his Roush Fenway Ford Fusion ahead of the No. 48 Chevrolet Impala of the five-time Cup champion.
Although Johnson seemed to be able to follow Biffle's pace for a while, he would then gradually drop back until sliding up the banking at the same corner where he lost the lead, brushing the wall and conceding any remaining victory hopes. A big margin to the rest of the field, partly thanks to very few caution periods, allowed Johnson to still cruise to second place.
Biffle, who entered Saturday's race as the points leader, ended a 49-race winless streak with his second Texas victory, giving his team owner Jack Roush a record ninth win at the Fort Worth venue.
"I could say it was about time but had work pays off and that's what this is about," said Biffle. "We knew it was a matter of time [before] we were going to win one of these things. We've been running so good and we had great pitstops, we had good cars.
"Catching the 48 at the end, I had to dig deep. It was all I had to be able to get to him. Seemed like when I got to him it was too easy. I don't know if he'd used up his tires or... he had a little bit of trouble with traffic, that's why I was able to close on him."
Johnson led nearly half the distance, yet just as two weeks ago at Martinsville he was unable to translate his speed into maximum score. The Californian blamed Stewart-Haas' Ryan Newman for costing him the lead as he believes the Martinsville winner raced him harder than he should have when being lapped.
"He was already a lap down and proceeded to race me and cost me the lead," said Johnson. "Definitely disappointed. Our pit stops were amazing. Just got tangled up in some lapped traffic, and [Biffle] made a great move."
Michael Waltrip Racing drivers were among the top contenders again, veteran Mark Martin finishing third while Martin Truex Jr., who led for 68 laps, finished sixth after battling a loose car in the second half of the race, while trying to recover from a slow pit stop.
Hendrick's Jeff Gordon finished fourth, more than 10 seconds behind the winner, crossing the finish line ahead of Roush's Matt Kenseth, who also led early on and remained a top-five runner all through the 501 miles of racing.
Reigning champion Tony Stewart, driving the same car that he took to victory lane at Texas last November, struggled to a 24th-place finish, two laps down on the race winner.
The lack of cautions reduced the opportunities for crews to work on handling, which was also affected by strong winds all weekend long.
The race saw a venue record of 234 caution-free laps, while a 160.577mph speed average for the winner was also a record after the race was interrupted only twice and for 10 laps, both due to debris, one of the problems being a hat blown away by the gusty winds.
Results - 334 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 3h07m12.000s
2. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet + 3.235s
3. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota + 9.094s
4. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet + 10.560s
5. Matt Kenseth Roush Fenway Ford + 11.928s
6. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota + 18.603s
7. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet + 21.969s
8. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford + 28.100s
9. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet + 28.576s
10. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet + 29.097s
11. Kyle Busch Gibbs Toyota + 31.110s
12. Denny Hamlin Gibbs Toyota + 32.785s
13. Kurt Busch Phoenix Chevrolet + 1 lap
14. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt-Ganassi Chevrolet + 1 lap
15. AJ Allmendinger Penske Dodge + 1 lap
16. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt-Ganassi Chevrolet + 1 lap
17. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota + 1 lap
18. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet + 1 lap
19. Joey Logano Gibbs Toyota + 1 lap
20. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford + 1 lap
21. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 2 laps
22. Aric Almirola Petty Ford + 2 laps
23. Regan Smith Furniture Row Chevrolet + 2 laps
24. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 2 laps
25. Casey Mears Germain Ford + 3 laps
26. David Reutimann Baldwin Chevrolet + 3 laps
27. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota + 4 laps
28. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford + 4 laps
29. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet + 4 laps
30. Landon Cassill BK Toyota + 4 laps
31. David Gilliland Front Row Ford + 6 laps
32. Reed Sorenson FAS Lane Ford + 7 laps
33. JJ Yeley Robinson-Blakeney Toyota + 9 laps
34. Tony Raines Childress Chevrolet + 11 laps
35. David Ragan Front Row Ford + 21 laps
36. Brad Keselowski Penske Dodge + 22 laps
Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 228 laps
Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 114 laps
Josh Wise Front Row Ford 66 laps
Mike Bliss TriStar Toyota 38 laps
Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 36 laps
Scott Riggs R3 Chevrolet 25 laps
Scott Speed Leavine Family Ford 13 laps