INDIANAPOLIS -- He's ''Awesome Bill'' again.
Bill Elliott passed Rusty Wallace 12 laps from the end, then held him off on a restart with four laps to go Sunday on the way to a victory in the Brickyard 400.
It was the second straight win for the 46-year-old Elliott, whose career was rejuvenated last year by new car-owner Ray Evernham. Elliott, who earned the nickname ''Awesome Bill from Dawsonville (Ga.)'' during the 1980s, was dominating in Sunday's 160-lap event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
He led 93 laps on the way to his 43rd career victory. Still, he found himself fifth after the final pit stop by the leaders on lap 130.
No problem for the red No. 9 Dodge on this day.
The green flag came out again on lap 134 and the 1988 Winston Cup champion was third by lap 137. He took second from pole-winner Tony Stewart on lap 139 and quickly chased down Wallace, another former series champion.
Stewart, a former Indy-car star who raced in the 500 five times, fell to 12th. The Indiana native, who has had problems with his anger in the past, punched a photographer several times after the race and didn't talk.
It took Elliott some time to set up Wallace's Ford for the pass, but he finally pulled it off with apparent ease coming off turn two on lap 149.
The elated Elliott said, ''Man, Rusty was tough. I kept working on him and working on him and I finally got close enough to stick my nose under him and get by.''
Wallace said his car got looser and looser as he led the race.
''I didn't think he could catch me. Then he got up under me and there was nothing I could do,'' said Wallace, who was hoping to give car owner Roger Penske his first Indianapolis win in a stock car after 11 in the Indianapolis 500.
It wasn't quite over yet.
Debris on the historic 2 1/2-mile oval brought out the eighth and final caution flag of the day on lap 153, frustrating Elliott, who had begun to pull away.
Wallace was not able to mount a challenge, though, as Elliott moved steadily ahead, beating the runner-up to the finish line by 1.269 seconds -- about 15 car-lengths. The winner, who started second in the 43-car field, averaged 125.033 mph and won $449,056.
Matt Kensetth finished third, followed by rookie Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick and three-time Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon, who never led in the 400-mile race.
Dale Jarrett, a two-time winner here, might have been the only driver able to really challenge Elliott at the end, but his race was spoiled when he left the pit lane too soon on his final pit stop.
While one of his crewmen was grabbing the second can of gasoline, Jarrett pulled away with a gas catch-can protruding from the car. That's an automatic stop-and-go penalty from NASCAR, and Jarrett found himself 23rd on that restart. He charged toward the front but wound up 10th.
Elliott was a struggling driver-owner late in 2000 when Evernham, the longtime and very successful crew chief for Gordon, bought out his team and hired the driver for his new Evernham Motorsports team. Elliott responded by finishing 15th in the 2001 season points and ending a 226-race winless streak late in the year.
Evernham had tears in his eyes and couldn't even speak moments after the race ended.
The back-to-back wins are the first for Elliott since 1992 when he won at Darlington and Atlanta as part of a streak of four in a row. The last driver to win two in a row was Gordon, who took last year's Brickyard race and followed with a win on the road course at Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Sterling Marlin, who had led the championship chase since the second event of the season, came into the Brickyard with a 106-point edge over Mark Martin.
It appeared Martin would cut into that margin until an engine problem in the late going dropped him from fifth to 28th, just behind Marlin. Rookie Jimmie Johnson, who started 37th, finished ninth and moved into second, trailing Marlin by 93 points. Martin fell to third, 109 behind. Elliott jumped from ninth to sixth, 210 back.
The ninth Brickyard race was the first NASCAR event run with so-called ''soft-wall'' technology. Indy used the new SAFER barriers for the first time in the 500 in May.
The barrier -- four steel tubes welded in 20-foot sections and bolted to the concrete walls with pads of hard foam placed 10 feet apart -- got a passing grade from NASCAR after several drivers came away from hard crashes with no injuries.
''It seems that it did its job and I'm able to walk away from a 200 mile an hour hit,'' said Kurt Busch.
Busch was hit from behind and knocked into the wall by Jimmy Spencer, the latest of a series of collisions involving those two. He stood by the side of his battered car and gestured at Spencer as he drove by on the next lap. Busch, on his way to the ambulance for the mandatory medical checkup, then bent over and patted his rear end as Spencer came by the next time.
''I'm in complete control of my actions,'' he said. ''I don't believe Jimmy is.''
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