Jimmie Johnson won the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway for the third straight year, fending off runner-up Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski after Sunday's AAA Texas 500 went to two overtimes.
The exciting race couldn't match the intensity of a post-race brawl on pit road between Keselowski and Jeff Gordon.
Johnson, who was eliminated from the Chase two weeks ago at Talladega, led the field to the green flag on Lap 340, with Keselowski on his outside.
While both drivers rolled through the first two corners wide open, Johnson tried to inch closer, ultimately clearing Keselowski's Ford and pulling away for the win.
Harvick was able to pass Keselowski for second place but couldn't catch Johnson's No. 48 Chevrolet, which crossed the finish line just .513 seconds ahead of Harvick's No. 4 car.
The first attempt at a green flag finish caused all the controversy and helped to scramble the Chase standings with just next Sunday's event at Phoenix International Raceway (3 p.m. ET on ESPN) left to decide which four drivers race for the series championship Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Gordon was the race leader at the time and picked the outside lane for a restart on Lap 335 with Johnson to his inside. Keselowski restarted third and tried to split the two Hendrick Motorsports drivers and ran out of room.
Contact from Keselowski's vehicle cut Gordon's left rear tire, causing Gordon to spin on the backstretch, which brought out the 13th caution of the race, a new record.
"We drove down into Turn 1, and he just decided to body-slam us and cut our left-rear tire," an irate Gordon said after the race, according to Reuters. "It ruined our night. It ruined our chances, ruined our night, might have even ruined our Chase hopes.
"It's just uncalled for. I had to show my displeasure. It got ugly down there, obviously, and you know that's all right. A lot of things are going to happen in the next couple of weeks."
Keselowski was unapologetic after the race.
"I'm not trying to dish out something that I couldn't take myself," Keselowski said, according to Reuters. "But these guys have their own code, and they race differently than that. That's their right. We'll go through these battles. I've gone through them before and come out stronger. I'll go through them again and come out stronger, a better race car driver."
"But what I'm not going to do is back down," he added. "I'm not going to get in the spot where I was in 2013 where, you know, I tried to be exactly what they all wanted me to be, because what they want me to be is a loser, and I'm not here to lose. I'm here to win. That means I'm going to have to drive my car, harder, stronger, faster than everybody out there. That's what I feel like I did today."
Johnson, who celebrated his record fourth victory at Texas and the 70th of his career, could only shake his head at the incident after the race.
"I saw a little bit on the big screen going down the back straightaway," said Johnson, according to Reuters. "I would definitely have to go to the tape and watch and see what happened there. I know that second-to-last restart, I got hit from behind and I know Brad got to my outside, and I guess in the process of running into me and getting to the outside lane he ruffled some feathers."
"Just an exciting night for us. We had a very fast race car, led a lot of laps (191 of 341). Those cautions at the end, one restart would help me, the other would hurt me -- and in the end we got it done," Johnson added.