Kahne took what would be the final re-start second behind Brad Keselowski, but held-on around the outside in a green-white-chequered finish in fading light.
Kahne was out front when the final of a record -setting 14 cautions was thrown after he passed the overtime line on the backstretch.
It was Kahne’s first win in 102 races, his maiden Brickyard 400 success, but the 10th for the Hendrick Motorsports operation.
“Way to go guys, way to go,” Kahne said. “I can’t believe this.”
It ended a long day at Indy which included a 107-minute rain delay not long after the start, meaning the race was well over six hours in length.
The race appeared to be in the hands of Kyle Busch who dominated to score wins in Stages 1 and 2. However, on a re-start he was side-by-side with Martin Truex Jr. who got loose heading into Turn 1. Both cars ended up in the outside fence on lap #110.
A long green-flag run brought out a range of strategies and the race was set for an intriguing finish. However, Clint Bowyer was sent into the inside fence at the exit of Turn 4 and set-off a major wreck involving Erik Jones and Kurt Busch on lap #148.
Kahne was on pit road at the time of the wreck and after a lengthy red flag period, Kahne and Ryan Newman were able to stay on track and re-start off the front.
Then points leader Kyle Larson was sent into the fence with six laps to run. Like Truex Jr., his car ended up in flames. Both occasions the on-board fire extinguisher systems allowed the drivers to escape unharmed.
A re-start with two laps to run had Jimmie Johnson making it three-wide with Brad Keselowski and Kahne. However, Johnson had his engine letting go and he spun into the Turn 3 fence and forced the race into overtime.
On the first overtime start a big wreck from the second row was triggered when Trevor Bayne was sent sideway as all the cars were jockeying for position. Cars were sent spinning, but Keselowski was half a car length in front.
Thinking the inside line would be slippery with all the ‘speedy dry’, Keselowski took the outside for the re-start but Kahne dug deep and headed the field down the back stretch when the final wreck occurred behind him.