Greg Biffle drove his No. 16 Roush Fenway Ford past the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet of Jimmie Johnson with 31 laps remaining in the Samsung Mobile 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night and drove away from the rest of the race field to claim his first win since 2010 and the first-career Sprint Cup victory for crew chief Matt Puccia.
After dominating most of the latter two-thirds of the 334-lap race, Johnson finished second. Mark Martin was third in the No. 55 Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota.
"I'm definitely disappointed," Johnson said of dominating so much of the race before losing the lead to Biffle late in the going. "But we had a great race car. I'm very proud of the effort."
I knew the team would forgive me if I wrecked it trying to beat him, so I just gave it all I had.
After starting third, Biffle got by pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 56 Michael Waltrip Racing Chevrolet just past lap 30. Biffle remained in the top spot until a cycle of green flag pit stops began on lap 47. After the cycle completed, Biffle was back up front. He lost the lead to Truex, though, when Truex beat him off pit road during the first caution of the race that came out for debris on lap 67.
Biffle drove back to the lead on lap 73 but was passed by RFR teammate Matt Kenseth in the No. 17 Ford on lap 83.
Truex inherited the lead again by getting off pit road first when the second and final caution of the race came out when the No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford of Trevor Bayne hit the wall on lap 95.
That lead was short-lived, though, as both Biffle and Johnson got by him on the restart to claim the top-two positions in the running order. Johnson took the lead for the first time in the race when he passed Biffle in lap 114.
Johnson then began to pull away, but after being one of the final drivers to pit during another cycle of green flag stops that began on lap 141, he wound up losing several positions during the cycle to drivers who pitted laps earlier and had the advantage of fresher rubber before Johnson.
By lap 180 Johnson made his way back up to the lead and maintained the top spot until being passed by Biffle with 31 to go, with the exception of laps during three additional cycles of green-flag stops. Instead of pitting late in the cycle like he had done earlier, Johnson pitted with the other front runners for the last three stops and each time, cycled back around to the lead.
"Our pit stops were amazing," Johnson said.
Once Biffle took the lead for good late in the race, he began to pull away from Johnson.
"I just dug deep," Biffle said of his late-race pass. "I knew I had to do it, and I kept trying and trying and trying. I knew the team would forgive me if I wrecked it trying to beat him, so I just gave it all I had."
Johnson then lost even more ground to Biffle when he scraped the wall with 15 laps to go, enabling Biffle to pull out to a lead of more than three seconds. Despite the contact with the wall, Johnson maintained second position, having a five-second lead on third place driver Martin.
Jeff Gordon methodically made his way toward the front after starting the race near the back to finish fourth, and Kenseth rounded out the top-five.
"We ran pretty good in the beginning," Kenseth said. "There were a couple of runs that I was better than Greg and passed him and I could see he was loose. He got his car fixed and we could never fix ours."
Truex was sixth, Kasey Kahne finished seventh in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, Carl Edwards was eighth in the No. 99 Roush Fenway Racing Ford, Kevin Harvick was ninth in the No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 10th in the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.