-- Greg Biffle won a nearly race-long duel with Casey Mears, pulling away over the last two laps to capture the NASCAR Busch Series race Saturday at California Speedway.
The two Nextel Cup regulars dominated the 150-lap Target House 300, leading all but 33 laps between them. The pair swapped the lead twice in the last seven trips around the two-mile oval before Biffle took the top spot for good two laps from the end and drove off to his fifth win of the season and the 16th of his career.
Biffle, who led a race-high 72 laps, complained to his crew throughout the race that his Roush Racing Ford was down on power, but managed to beat Mears with superior handling.
"I've never been at a disadvantage like that in my life," Biffle said. "He was a lot stronger than me on the straights, but I could loosen him up in the corners and he had trouble putting the gas down in the corner. Once I could break that draft and get about six car lengths, I could get away from him."
Biffle wound up winning by 0.356 of a second -- about four car-lengths -- over Mears's Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge.
"I would have liked to have won my first Busch race, but that was the most fun race I've ever been involved in," said Mears, the nephew of four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and a native of nearby Bakersfield. "I was pretty loose, but it was a good race and Biffle raced me clean. I'll go home pretty happy with this one."
Kevin Harvick finished third, followed by Kasey Kahne, Jamie McMurray and series leader Martin Truex Jr. Kyle Busch wound up ninth and slipped to 95 points behind Truex in the race for the series title.
Biffle had built a lead of nearly four seconds over Mears late in the race when debris brought out the third caution of the day on Lap 135. Jason Leffler stayed on track and took the lead, but Biffle charged from third place on the restart on Lap 139 to regain the top spot with Mears, who restarted sixth, surging back to second.
Mears, who started from the pole and led 45 laps, stayed near the top of the banking and zoomed past Biffle on Lap 143. But Biffle, who now has two straight Busch victories at the California track, got back out front on Lap 144 as a stalled car brought out the final caution.
Mears got another shot at Biffle on the final restart on Lap 147, quickly moving to the front. The two leaders were side by side, bumping briefly just before the finish line as Mears barely held the lead on Lap 148.
But Biffle dived low on the banking to move past for the final time on Lap 149 and steadily pulled away.