Kevin Harvick left it late but eventually passed Jimmie Johnson on the final lap to win the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California.
Harvick started in 24th place but gradually worked his way through the pack. He restarted fifth with nine laps to go and surged to the front on the final two laps, passing Kyle Busch and Johnson to take his 15th career win by 0.144 seconds.
"I wish we could just go out there and wear 'em out one day, just not have to worry about waiting until the last lap," Harvick said.
"It does kind of seem we wait until the last moments to really get going. It's probably somewhat of a bad habit I have, but I guess it worked out."
Busch, who qualified in eighth in a backup car after sliding into a wall in practice, headed the pack for a race-high 151 laps.
But he didn't have enough left after the leaders stayed out on the last caution, eventually claiming third.
"It's real unfortunate and disappointing and frustrating all in one that we weren't able to seal the deal today," Busch said.
"You ask a little bit more from your race car at the last moments and it just doesn't have anything left to give. We were just a sitting duck waiting for those guys to go around us."
Matt Kenseth finished fourth ahead of Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne. Polesitter Juan Pablo Montoya completed the top 10.
Busch, who took the lead for the first time on lap 22 of 200, pitted on lap 138 with a 6.5-second advantage over Tony Stewart, who began to make up ground throughout the ensuing green-flag run.
Stewart pulled the gap back to 1.3 seconds when another cycle of green-flag stops widened Busch's advantage to 2.5 seconds.
Andy Lally's spin off Turn 4 on lap 170, however, brought out the third caution of the race and bunched the field for a restart on lap 175.