Paul Menard does a burnout after winning the NASCAR Brickyard 400 auto race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Sunday, July 31, 2011. (AP Photo/Dave Parker)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP/WVLT) -- Paul Menard has won his first career Sprint Cup Series race by conserving fuel then holding off Jeff Gordon to pull off an upset victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Menard's victory Sunday continued the trend of first-time winners this season in NASCAR's crown jewel events. Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500, Regan Smith won at Darlington Raceway and David Ragan won earlier this month at Daytona.
Now Menard is winner of the Brickyard 400, making it to Victory Lane in his 167th series start. His only other NASCAR victory came in the Nationwide Series in 2006.
He saved enough gas over the closing laps to drive wide-open to the finish. He held off Gordon, who overcame a 12-second deficit over the final 12 laps to finish second.
Knoxville's Bayne was running fourth with seven laps to go, but had to make a pit-stop to get more gas. Bayne went on to finish 30th.