Brad Keselowski dominated the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire on Sunday, despite the late scare of a green-white-chequered finish, to record his second victory in three races.
Keselowski first took the lead on lap 90, and then spent much of the day heading the pack in his Penske-run Ford. He relied on the car's pace to take four tyres in the majority of his pitstops, and although he repeatedly lost track position he quickly carved through the lead each time.
"It's a privilege to drive a car like this, we're red hot," he said in Victory Lane. "With cars like this, the sky's the limit for us."
His nearest challengers gambled on a doomed fuel strategy. Denny Hamlin bailed out as soon as the final yellow flew, for a clash between Justin Allgaier and David Ragan.
Even before the final green flag in overtime, Jeff Gordon ran out of gas, and then Kevin Harvick ran dry at the restart, both drivers losing certain top-three finishes after their strategies came undone.
Poleman Kyle Busch bounced back to finish second, one of the few to successfully gamble on a long fuel-run at the end, ahead of rookie Kyle Larson, who made an early stop which put him off-sequence and the late yellow played into his hands.
Matt Kenseth finished fourth, ahead of a late charge from Ryan Newman.
Clint Bowyer was in the mix all day and finished sixth, ahead of Tony Stewart and the recovering Hamlin.
It had looked likely to be a Penske 1-2, but Keselowski's team-mate Joey Logano was taken out when lapping 72-year-old Morgan Shepherd, who was 15 laps down.
"The slowest car in the race took us out, just slid up," sighed Logano. "Maybe there should be a driver's test. If you can't control your stuff you shouldn't be out there."
This track will host race two in the Chase for Championship, so the early departure of Jimmie Johnson will cause some concern at Hendrick Motorsports.
He crashed out after his second puncture in the first 14 laps, giving the team a few headaches for its return in a couple of months' time.
Results - 305 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford 2h58m03.000s 2. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota +0.750s 3. Kyle Larson Ganassi Chevrolet +1.624s 4. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota +1.671s 5. Ryan Newman Childress Chevrolet +2.076s 6. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota +2.077s 7. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +2.479s 8. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota +2.611s 9. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford +2.678s 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet +3.081s 11. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet +3.366s 12. Martin Truex Jr Furniture Row Ford +3.506s 13. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford +3.668s 14. Austin Dillon Childress Chevrolet +3.875s 15. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford +3.945s 16. Jamie McMurray Ganassi Chevrolet +4.063s 17. Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +4.274s 18. AJ Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Chevrolet +4.352s 19. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet +4.465s 20. Jeff Burton Waltrip Toyota +4.726s 21. Brian Vickers Waltrip Toyota +4.762s 22. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet +4.828s 23. Aric Almirola Petty Ford +5.075s 24. David Gilliland Front Row Ford +5.214s 25. David Ragan Front Row Ford +5.551s 26. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet +26.721s 27. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford -1 lap 28. Cole Whitt BK Toyota -1 lap 29. Josh Wise Parsons Chevrolet -1 lap 30. Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet -1 lap 31. Alex Bowman BK Toyota -2 laps 32. Michael Annett Baldwin Chevrolet -2 laps 33. Reed Sorenson Baldwin Chevrolet -3 laps 34. Landon Cassill Hillman Chevrolet -4 laps 35. Eddie MacDonald FAS Lane Ford -5 laps 36. Ryan Truex BK Toyota -5 laps 37. Casey Mears Germain Chevrolet -13 laps 38. Morgan Shepherd Circle Sport Chevrolet -27 laps Retirements: Justin Allgaier Hscott Chevrolet 296 laps Joey Logano Penske Ford 211 laps Timmy Hill Identity Ventures Toyota 76 laps Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet 11 laps Mike Bliss BK Toyota 6 laps