Kevin Harvick snatched Charlotte NASCAR Sprint Cup victory from Kasey Kahne at the end of a grueling 600-mile race interrupted by two red flags.
Kahne had led 156 of the 400 laps and was as much as six seconds clear of the field at times in his Hendrick Chevrolet. But he was wrong-footed by a caution for debris with 16 laps to go. While Kahne stayed out, every other car on the lead lap pitted for at least two fresh tires.
At the restart, Harvick's Childress Chevrolet got the jump on Kahne and pulled clear to win by a second and a half. Kahne hung on for second, fending off Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano.
"It was a good strategy call there," Harvick told the NASCAR Wire Service. "The 5 stayed out, and we were able to have a little bit fresher tires and get in front of him on the restart… This is one of those nights where you just know going in that you've got to grind away, lap after lap to keep yourself on the lead lap and not make any mistakes…
"This is a long night. We've been here a lot of times and know that you just have to grind through mile after mile, keep your car running, don't get tore up, don't get a lap down, and you're going to be somewhere around at the end. Everybody did that on our Budweiser Chevy tonight, and there we were at the end."
Kahne finished second for the third time this season on a 1.5-mile speedway.
"We had a great car from the drop of the green, drove to the front from sixth," said Kahne, who led a race-high 161 laps. "It was definitely our race to lose, especially those last 100 laps. We thought that some of the guys would stay out. I think there were three cars that had just pitted within the last couple laps, or five or six laps, and (we) just felt like they'd stay out, and that'd be a big enough buffer to someone who had two or four (new) tires, that we could get away.
"It didn't happen. Harvick started right beside me and had two, and he held it flat through (Turns) 1 and 2, and I had to lift a little bit. I got a little free getting in, so I had to back off the gas, and when I went back down, he was in front of me. So that was the end of our race, and I had to make sure I got second from there."
Third was a case of what might have been for Busch. He was leading when a violent tangle between Jeff Gordon, Aric Almirola, Mark Martin and Ricky Stenhouse Jr brought out the second red flag of the night.
Busch struggled to restart afterwards and had to pit for a new battery, rejoining at the tail of the lead lap pack. His brother Kyle Busch suffered even worse luck.
The Joe Gibbs driver, Kahne and Matt Kenseth had taken turns to dominate in the opening half of the race.
Busch was at the center of the bizarre first stoppage, when the cable for an overhead TV camera fell onto the track, damaging his and several other cars. NASCAR stopped the race so that those affected could carry out repairs without losing position. That kept Busch's patched-up car among the leaders, but it later suffered an engine failure.
Kenseth's chances faded when he was caught up in a late tangle involving Jimmie Johnson, Juan Pablo Montoya and Paul Menard.
There were several other big incidents in a race that took over five hours to complete. Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s engine blew at the same moment as Busch's, dropping an oil slick that sent Greg Biffle, Travis Kvapil and Dave Blaney into the wall.
Champion Brad Keselowski tangled with Danica Patrick while they ran three-wide with Stenhouse. That left Keselowski classified 36th, while Johnson was only 22nd, allowing 11th-placed finisher Carl Edwards to gain a little ground in the points.
Among those that stayed out of trouble, Ryan Newman and Tony Stewart gave the struggling Stewart-Haas squad some encouragement with sixth and seventh.
Waltrip duo Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr were lead contenders at times before finishing eighth and ninth, ahead of Marcos Ambrose, another man whose car was struck by the camera cable.
Results - 400 laps
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet
2. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet + 1.490s
3. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet + 1.662s
4. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota + 2.065s
5. Joey Logano Penske Ford + 2.169s
6. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 3.394s
7. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 3.594s
8. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota + 4.404s
9. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota + 4.763s
10. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford + 5.498s
11. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford + 6.103s
12. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet + 6.630s
13. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet + 8.604s
14. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford + 2 laps
15. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota + 2 laps
16. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford + 3 laps
17. Regan Smith Phoenix Chevrolet + 3 laps
18. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet + 3 laps
19. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet + 4 laps
20. David Gilliland Front Row Ford + 4 laps
21. David Reutimann BK Toyota + 4 laps
22. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet + 5 laps
23. Casey Mears Germain Ford + 6 laps
24. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota + 6 laps
25. David Ragan Front Row Ford + 6 laps
26. Josh Wise Front Row Ford + 7 laps
27. Timmy Hill FAS Lane Ford + 9 laps
28. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet + 10 laps
29. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 15 laps
Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet 339 laps
Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford 335 laps
David Stremme Swan Toyota 326 laps
Aric Almirola Petty Ford 324 laps
Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota 324 laps
Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 324 laps
Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 317 laps
Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet 303 laps
Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota 257 laps
Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet 256 laps
Travis Kvapil BK Toyota 253 laps
Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 213 laps
Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 50 laps
Scott Speed Leavine Ford 39 laps