DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Matt Kenseth passed his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch with 13 laps to go to win his first Southern 500 on Saturday night.
Busch was the strongest car for much of the race and led for 265 of the 367 laps at Darlington Raceway. But his machine appeared to fall away at the worst possible time and he faded to sixth.
Denny Hamlin completed his first full race since suffering a compression fracture in a vertebra in his lower back on March 24.
Jeff Gordon would up third in his 700th straight career start.
Points leader Jimmie Johnson was fourth and Kevin Harvick fifth.
Kenseth’s victory came without crew chief Jason Ratcliff, who was suspended for the No. 20 Toyota having an illegal part in a win at Kansas.