Ryan Newman defeated Jimmie Johnson in the NASCAR Sprint Cup's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.
Johnson looked to be on the cusp of taking a record fifth Indy win for much of the afternoon, having jumped polesitter Newman in the first pit stops.
The job-hunting Newman then began a valiant chase. The pair were as much as 13 seconds clear of the field at times, as Newman did his utmost not to let Johnson escape.
The biggest gap between them came when Newman took on four new tires at a juncture when most picked two, leaving him down in 13th, although he quickly carved back through the field onto Johnson's tail.
At the crucial final stops, Newman went the opposite way, taking only two tires as the majority went for four. Coupled with a slow stop for Johnson, that vaulted Newman seven seconds ahead of his rival.
Johnson got that gap down to 3sec but could close no further, as Newman clinched his first Indianapolis win and gave his 2014 job prospects a big boost.
"I watched Jimmie, kept quiet...played the old Pearson role," said Newman. "I knew I had a good car. Matt's call gave me the track position I needed, taking the two tires. I was just counting down the laps from that point on.
"I knew a lot of guys needed to pit. I didn't know how far back Jimmie was. He said four seconds at that point. I knew I had to manage my racecar and my tires. I knew it was so difficult to pass. His car was looking looser and looser as I ran behind him."
Johnson agreed that track position had been a key factor.
"My times that I caught lap traffic or had to pass someone for position, it took a lot of risk to get that done," he related. "We maintained great track position through the bulk of the race. Then there at the end we had a little mistake on pit road, the 39 took two where we took four. Once I got back to the track, I had a lot of distance to make up.
"I got within probably three seconds, beat myself up pretty bad. I think Ryan was being smart, too. Once I got to a certain distance, I believe he decided to go 100%. He had plenty of speed today."
Kasey Kahne shadowed Hendrick teammate Johnson over the line for third.
Newman's current team boss Tony Stewart was a lonely fourth, followed by Joe Gibbs Toyota driver Matt Kenseth in the top non-Chevrolet.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. recovered from going a lap down with a loose wheel early on to chase Kenseth home in sixth, with fellow Hendrick man Jeff Gordon on his tail.
Penske tried a few alternate strategies but had to settle for a few spells in the lead and eighth for Joey Logano and 21st for champion Brad Keselowski. Juan Pablo Montoya and Kyle Busch completed the top 10.
Results - 160 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet 2h36m22.000s
2. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet +2.658s
3. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet +3.183s
4. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +15.465s
5. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota +21.579s
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet +22.377s
7. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet +22.473s
8. Joey Logano Penske Ford +23.539s
9. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet +24.510s
10. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota +24.731s
11. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota +30.939s
12. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet +31.285s
13. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford +32.243s
14. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet +32.820s
15. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet +34.322s
16. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford +35.042s
17. Aric Almirola Petty Ford +35.227s
18. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota +35.720s
19. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet +38.650s
20. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota +40.274s
21. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford +40.944s
22. AJ Almendinger Phoenix Chevrolet +48.946s
23. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota +50.083s
24. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford +1 lap
25. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford +1 lap
26. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet +1 lap
27. Casey Mears Germain Ford +1 lap
28. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford +1 lap
29. David Reutimann BK Toyota +2 laps
30. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +2 laps
31. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota +2 laps
32. Michael McDowell Parsons Ford +3 laps
33. Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet +3 laps
34. David Ragan Front Row Ford +3 laps
35. David Gilliland Front Row Ford +3 laps
36. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota +3 laps
37. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet +4 laps
38. Jose Wise Front Row Ford +4 laps
39. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet +4 laps
40. David Stremme Swan Toyota +9 laps
41. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota +14 laps
42. Timmy Hill FAS Lane Ford +79 laps
43. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet +90 laps