TOWN stepped off the gas in Shepherd's Bush - and QPR cashed in.
While Town had won Easter engagements against Norwich and Middlesbrough to sweep away any worries of relegation from the original Second Division, Rangers' bid for a second straight promotion had faltered with defeats by Boro and Cardiff.
Alec Stock's side knew they had to bounce back against Tom Johnston's Town in order to keep the pressure on Ipswich and Blackpool in the race for the two promotion positions.
And in a one-sided showdown screened on Match of the Day and watched by 19,646 in West London, they did just that.
With skipper Mike Keen a driving force and young Rodney Marsh a dangerman, they eased to a 3-0 victory to remain a point ahead of Blackpool, who won 2-1 at Norwich, and level with Ipswich, 1-0 victors at Plymouth.
Rangers were without ex-England goalkeeper Ron Springett because of injury, but Town seldom managed to trouble his deputy, Mike Kelly.
The only real save he was forced to make was from Colin Dobson in the 13th minute, while Jimmy Nicholson skimmed the bar with a long-ranger just before half-time, after Joe Harper had blazed a close-range effort wide.
Rangers' opener arrived on 21 minutes, with the lively Marsh the marksman.
Keen passed to full-back Alan Harris, whose lob into the goalmouth caught out Trevor Cherry.
The lurking Marsh was onto the loose ball in an instant, steering a low shot past John Oldfield, who could do nothing about it.
Goal number two was registered after 40 minutes, with Harris's fellow left-back Billy Legg slicing a shot by Mick Leach into his own net.
The match lost momentum in the second half, with the only Town players to catch the eye Jimmy McGill, playing at right-back, and one-time QPR trialist Roy Ellam at centre-back.
Roger Morgan, whose twin brother Ian was also in the Rangers team, tested Oldfield before Marsh put the seal on the victory in the 80th minute.
He followed up to tap the ball home after a Roger Morgan shot deflected off Ellam.
Elsewhere, Manchester United were leading the way in a Northern-dominated race for the league championship, their latest success by a 1-0 margin over Sheffield United at Old Trafford.
Second-placed Leeds beat West Brom 3-1 at Elland Road, while Manchester City, who were eventually to land the prize, were third after a goalless draw with Wolves in Molineux. Liverpool were fourth and Everton fifth.
QPR were to hold off Blackpool's challenge to go up alongside Ipswich, the pair replacing Sheffield United and Fulham.