It's been a long time coming for a certain four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, who endured a winless season last year and was somewhat overlooked heading into Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500K at Phoenix International Raceway.

The stage was set on a raceday, with better than expected weather and a track that would undergo a refit following the race weekend, a change that didn't exactly sit well with most competitors.

After a day that saw attrition in the form of multi-car crashes and some bruised egos, a winner emerged from the desert shootout that pitted the weekend's dominant star and a legend who had some old tricks up his sleeves.

Jeff Gordon, who hadn't been to Victory Lane in nearly two years, snapped his 66-race drought, as he piloted his No. 24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet to his 83rd career Cup win.

Gordon's victory was a historical one, as he tied Cale Yarborough in the all-times wins list, with both sitting fifth amongst NASCAR's legendary racers.

He had to earn it the hard way too, overcoming an early crash with Carl Edwards and the backstretch wall and a somewhat slow last pit stop.

Certainly, the No. 24 team had their work cut out for them, with Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart ahead of them for a classic Arizona harbinger.

Perhaps in this case last year, Gordon and his team might have settled with a top-five, giving it a shot for the win but not having the car to contend with traffic late in the going.

However, that same scenario resulted in a different but familiar outcome, with Gordon muscling his way around Stewart and bumping past Busch with seven laps to go en route to his historical win.

"It feels so amazing. I can't tell you how amazing this feels," Gordon said per AP Sports Writer John Marshall's race recap. "It's been a long time, I know, and I'm going to savor this one so much."

A big key to their win had to be their early February test session at Pikes Peak International, a flat track with a similar layout to Phoenix.

Crew chief Alan Gustafson elected to have his driver and team test at that facility to gain an advantage on the competition, which ultimately paid off on Sunday afternoon.

Heading into Sunday's race, the main storyline surrounded Kyle Busch, who dominated the Camping World Trucks race on Friday and led every lap for a convincing Nationwide win on Saturday.

Would a Sprint Cup victory be in the cards for one of the sport's most dynamic racers?

Having swept the NASCAR races at Bristol last August, most eyes were on the driver of the No. 18 Toyota, who appeared to be in the right spot at the right time - well, before Gordon came along.

Despite coming home with a runner-up finish instead of a win, Busch was perhaps the biggest winner of the race weekend.

Assuming command of the points lead, the 25-year-old racer heads into next Sunday's race as the hometown favorite at Las Vegas (Next Sunday, Live, 3 PM EST on FOX).

"He was on a mission, that's for sure," Busch said. "When Jeff Gordon has a good car and he's got the opportunity to beat you, he's going to beat you.

"He's my hero and I've always watched him and what he's been able to accomplish over the years, so it's no surprise that he beat us."

While the race indeed was at the famed Avondale, AZ venue, at one juncture during the 500K, it almost looked like Daytona or Talladega when Brian Vickers and Matt Kenseth made contact with each other.

Paint trading and then some, their incident sparked off a 13-car crash that took out racers like Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton, who were both frustrated with the aggressive racing.

"Just stupid," Bowyer said per Yahoo! Sports' Jay Hart's article. "Driving like it's the last lap, it looked like to me."

Another upset racer following the race was Carl Edwards, who was collected in a separate incident that took place prior to "The Big One."

Kyle Busch's car broke loose while racing with Edwards, which resulted in the No. 99 Subway Ford smacking the wall and hitting Gordon's Chevy early in the going.

"Regardless of what caused it, that wreck took out the fastest car out of the race," Edwards said. "I'll talk to him about it."

With Gordon winning the Subway Fresh Fit 500K, rounding out the top-10 were Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart, Kurt Busch, A.J. Allmendinger, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Johnson, Harvick, and Earnhardt Jr. had to be elated with their runs, as it was a rebound from their Daytona debacles from a week ago. 

As February's racing action comes to a close, March Madness hits the NASCAR circuit for the Sprint Cup competitors, with stops at Las Vegas (3/6), Bristol (3/20), and Fontana (3/27). 

After an exciting month of racing that resulted in the youngest Daytona 500 in the form of Trevor Bayne and a sentimental legend like Jeff Gordon capturing the checkers at Phoenix, it's anyone's guess what's in store heading into the ides of March.

One thing that is certain is that it's a whole new ballgame for a sport that's introduced monumental changes that's so far resulted in a lot of excitement for the sport.