Ryan Hunter-Reay's appearance on pit road on lap 175 initially suggested that the fuel situation was far more dire than expected, but it proved to be a false alarm - his car had a mechanical failure that meant he would sit out the final 25 laps in the garage, joining Sarah Fisher (whoe car gave up the ghost on lap 134) and EJ Viso, who had been an early retiree on lap 45 with badly overheating brakes.
No yellows, and the fuel was burning up faster than anyone had expected - one last emergency pit stop was now unavoidable, with Tony Kanaan first in from third position at the start of lap 192, nine laps shy of the chequered flag. Ordinarily coming in first is a disadvantage, but it meant the pit lane was nice and deserted for his in-and-out, whereas the other leaders - coming in four laps later - found themselves packed together in their pit boxes. When they filtered back onto the track, they found themselves under attack from Kanaan who was flying on his now-heated tyres, and Franchitti and the rest were unable to hold him back.
But none of them were about to get the race win - Helio's fuel top-off back on laps 89 and 92 essentially deciding the race and handing him the win, giving the Brazilian a chance to celebrate in victory road. Remarkably, Ed Carpenter also managed to conserve fuel enough to make it to the chequered flag without a splash-and-dash, giving him a well-deserved second place ahead of Wheldon, Kanaan and Franchitti who all would be forgiven for expecting better from Kentucky: but for Dario at least the critical result was that he finished ahead of Will Power in eighth to cut the Australian's lead in the championship battle.