Denny Hamlin had the race in the bag. Then he gave it away.
And then, in one of the more remarkable comebacks in recent memory, Hamlin rallied for an incredible win.
Hamlin went from fourth to first on a green-white-checkered restart, bulling his way up through the field in a finish worth the wait after the race was postponed for a day.
"This is probably the most gratifying win that I've had," he said afterward. "I'm not sure we've gotten a win like this."
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver, facing major knee surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament, had pitted with less than 10 laps remaining and surrendered the lead.
It seemed like a terrible call by crew chief Mike Ford, as most of the cars behind him stayed out to gain track position with so few laps remaining. Hamlin restarted ninth with only four laps to go, and the pit call appeared to be the bonehead move of the year.
JGR president J.D. Gibbs said of Ford's pit call: "I told Mike I never doubted him, but in reality, I was cussing him."
But just as leader Jeff Gordon was about to win the race (Hamlin had only gotten up to fourth), NASCAR called a caution for Kyle Busch’s spin – setting up an overtime green-white-checkered flag finish.
That allowed Hamlin to get another shot, and he took advantage.
Driving like a man possessed, Hamlin began by bumping second-place driver Ryan Newman out of the way. Then Matt Kenseth (who had restarted third) nailed Gordon, and Gordon responded by taking out Kenseth for what he perceived as a cheap shot.
Meanwhile, Hamlin drove through the mess and ended up in victory lane.
Hamlin said he was frustrated at having his knee surgery postponed from Monday to Wednesday – he has less than two weeks to recover before Phoenix, but was still happy.
"To me, I need every hour in my mind to recuperate in time for Phoenix," he said. "It was frustrating that we couldn't get it done, but this is definitely a good alternative."
Ford explained his decision by saying the new multiple green-white-checkered rule (there are up to three chances at a two-lap overtime finish) played into the strategy. He figured there could be multiple cautions and pick up a few spots per time.
He didn't think his driver could do it on one try, but there was no choice: Ford felt it was a move that had to be made.
"Your cards are shown when you commit either way," he said. "They're waiting on you to see what you're going to do, and the only opportunity to win is to do the opposite.
"Some guys are going to get the short end of the stick on this – and it's going to be the guys who stayed out."
After the race, Gordon said he spun his tires on the final restart but got going again, then was hit from behind by someone – who he assumed was Kenseth.
Gordon admitted he retaliated on the backstretch, because in his mind, "If a guy gives you a cheap shot like that, he doesn't deserve to win."
An upset Gordon also said NASCAR "wanted a green-white-checkered finish," because officials could have thrown a caution flag for any number of blown tires but waited until Busch's spin to do so.
Kenseth said afterward that he got into Gordon "a little bit, not really that hard."
"And he just took a left as hard as he could take one and ran me all the way down into the marbles," Kenseth said.
The marbles on Kenseth's tires caused him to wheel-hop, and he couldn't hang onto the car when he went into Turn 3, causing him to slip up the track.
"It was a dumb move on my part," Kenseth said. "I should have just finished third and collected some points and got one of our best finishes at Martinsville, but I figured I'd go for the win, which, I guess in hindsight, was probably a mistake."
Kenseth finished 18th, costing him what would have been the points lead.
Instead, Jimmie Johnson has the points lead, by 14 over Greg Biffle and 16 over Kenseth.
Kevin Harvick fell from first to fourth and is followed by Jeff Burton, Kurt Busch and Gordon.
Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Paul Menard and Brian Vickers round out the top 12.
Hamlin is 15th in points, only 24 out of the Chase. Ahead of him are Logano (13th place, six points out) and Carl Edwards (14th, seven points out).
More on this developing story coming soon (keep clicking refresh for updates).