Jimmie Johnson re-established his NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead with just two rounds to go by dominating at Texas Motor Speedway.
The five-time champion led 255 of 334 laps in the 500-mile race, putting him seven points clear of title rival Matt Kenseth, who finished fourth.
Johnson's early opponent was polesitter Carl Edwards, who he overtook after 10 laps but twice lost the lead to in pitstops.
Each time Johnson's Hendrick Chevrolet was able to hunt down and repass Edwards' Roush Fenway Ford, which eventually faded before dropping out with engine problems.
Kenseth worked his way forward to challenge Johnson as the race went on. A slightly slow mid-distance pitstop gave him ground to make up, but it was a pitlane speeding penalty on his next stop that really hurt.
The Joe Gibbs Toyota driver just managed to stay on the lead lap as he rejoined in 16th, and by the end had clawed his way back to fourth.
There was a tantalising moment for Kenseth when Johnson's antepenultimate pitstop was slow and dropped him to fifth place.
But Johnson rapidly blasted back past all those in front of him to retake the lead and ultimately win by four seconds over team-mate Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Joey Logano lost out to Earnhardt at the final stops and came home third.
Brad Keselowski had a couple of spells in the lead and finished sixth, behind Kasey Kahne.
Kyle Busch slammed the wall early on yet did remarkably little damage to his Gibbs Toyota.
After a quick pitstop for checks, he rejoined in 29th and still on the lead lap, fought back through to second, then broke the pitlane speed limit and could only finish 13th.
Jeff Gordon had edged back into the championship contention when he won at Martinsville last week, but crashing due to a blown tyre at Texas ended his slim hopes.
Results - 334 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 3h18m05.000s 2. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet +4.392s 3. Joey Logano Penske Ford +5.999s 4. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota +7.754s 5. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet +11.170s 6. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford +12.365s 7. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota +17.521s 8. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet +17.779s 9. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +20.905s 10. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota +21.337s 11. Mark Martin Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +24.002s 12. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford +24.037s 13. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota +26.828s 14. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota +28.568s 15. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet +1 lap 16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford +2 laps 17. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet +2 laps 18. Parker Kligerman Swan Toyota +2 laps 19. Elliott Sadler Waltrip Toyota +2 laps 20. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet +3 laps 21. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford +3 laps 22. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet +3 laps 23. Kyle Larson Phoenix Chevrolet +3 laps 24. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet +3 laps 25. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +3 laps 26. David Gilliland Front Row Ford +3 laps 27. Aric Almirola Petty Ford +4 laps 28. David Reutimann BK Toyota +4 laps 29. Trevor Bayne Wood Brothers Ford +4 laps 30. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet +4 laps 31. Jamie McMUrray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet +5 laps 32. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota +5 laps 33. Casey Mears Germain Ford +6 laps 34. Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet +6 laps 35. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet +8 laps Retirements: Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota 190 laps Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford 187 laps Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet 147 laps* Josh Wise Front Row Ford 145 laps Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota 144 laps Timmy Hill FAS Lane Ford 125 laps David Ragan Front Row Ford 81 laps Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 27 laps * Running again at chequered flag