Kyle Busch held off a determined Kyle Larson to claim his first victory of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Fontana.
The Joe Gibbs man, who also won last year's event, ran in the top five for the majority of the race but never looked like a victory candidate as those ahead of him had greater pace.
Everything changed, however, when the ninth caution of the race came on lap 199 of 200 as Clint Bowyer spun out as a result of a blown tyre.
A quick four-tyre change helped propel Busch to the front of the field and he soon deposed brother Kurt and rookie Larson to claim the win.
Larson missed out on what would have been a first Cup victory by just 0.214s.
Kurt Busch beat polesitter Matt Kenseth to third.
The latter ran at the sharp end of the field throughout the race, fighting with the likes of Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson.
Keselowski led the opening phase of the race, but a gamble to stay out in the lead on lap 57 - on 14-lap old tyres - when Tony Stewart spun out down the backstretch failed miserably, and he soon dropped down the order.
The 2012 champion briefly returned to the front with 30 laps to go before suffering a blow out in the dying moments of the race. He eventually finished 26th and a lap down.
Johnson meanwhile led the most laps of anybody - a total of 104 - and looked set to claim his sixth Fontana win, but he too experienced a tyre deflation five laps from the end while leading.
Jeff Gordon produced a great recovery drive from the back of the field and was a thorn in his Hendrick team-mate's side all day.
The 42-year-old suffered an early penalty for being too fast on pit road when he pitted on lap 19, dropping him from third to the rear of the field.
He fought back however and soon filtered his way to the front again, where he and Johnson traded places on numerous occasions - resulting in a record 35 lead changes at Fontana.
Gordon's charge fell apart though during the green-white-chequer finish as he dropped down the order to finish 13th.
Denny Hamlin failed to start after suffering from a severe sinus infection. His replacement Sam Hornish Jr came home in 17th place.
Results - 206 laps:
Pos Driver Team/Car
1. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota
2. Kyle Larson Ganassi Chevrolet
3. Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Chevrolet
4. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota
5. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet
6. Jamie McMurray Ganassi Chevrolet
7. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota
8. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Chevrolet
9. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet
10. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford
11. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet
12. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet
13. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet
14. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet
15. Casey Mears German Chevrolet
16. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota
17. Sam Hornish Jr Joe Gibbs Toyota
18. Cole Whitt Swan Toyota
19. Michael Annett Baldwin Chevrolet
20. Ryan Newman Childress Chevrolet
21. Reed Sorenson Baldwin Chevrolet
22. Alex Bowman BK Toyota
23. Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row Ford
24. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet
25. Landon Cassill Hillman Chevrolet
26. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford
27. David Ragan Front Row Ford
28. Justin Allgaier Hscott Chevrolet
29. David Reutimann Front Row Ford
30. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford
31. Ryan Truex BK Toyota
32. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota
33. Travis Kvapil Go FAS Ford
34. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford
35. Brian Scott Childress Chevrolet
36. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet
37. Josh Wise Parsons Chevrolet
38. David Gilliland Front Row Ford
39. Joey Logano Penske Ford
40. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford
41. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet
42. Parker Kligerman Swan Toyota
43. Aric Almirola Petty Ford
Parker Kligerman Swan Toyota
Aric Almirola Petty Ford