Darlington NASCAR: Matt Kenseth wins, Denny Hamlin second on return

Matt Kenseth claimed his third win of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Darlington, while his Joe Gibbs team-mate Denny Hamlin finished a superb second on his return after injury

Darlington NASCAR: Matt Kenseth wins, Denny Hamlin second on return

The race looked like it would deliver an all-Gibbs top three, though, only for Kyle Busch to tumble back to sixth in the closing laps as his handling faded after what had been a dominant evening.

The Busch brothers were the main protagonists in the early laps, as polesitter Kurt Busch kept his Furniture Row Chevrolet at the front for 69 laps before Kyle got through.

Once up front, Kyle Busch looked unstoppable until the last moments.

He led 265 of the 367 laps and was rarely headed prior to his Toyota's balance disappearing in the final stages.

The Gibbs and Hendrick teams had dominated the night, and Kenseth was first in line to pounce as Busch hit trouble, taking the lead 12 laps from the finish.

In his first full race distance since sustaining back injuries at Fontana in March, Hamlin was a frontrunner throughout and was next to overtake Busch.

Although Hamlin could not chase down victorious team-mate Kenseth, he did manage to fend off Hendrick duo Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson for second.

Fellow Hendrick driver Kasey Kahne should have been up there too, but for a crash while completing a passing move on Busch.

Busch eventually fell to sixth behind Childress driver Kevin Harvick.

Carl Edwards, Juan Pablo Montoya, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Ryan Newman completed the top 10.

Kurt Busch fell back to 14th by the finish.

Champion Brad Keselowski finished nine laps down in 32nd after getting collected as Casey Mears crashed.

Results - 367 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Toyota 3h32m45.000s 2. Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Toyota + 3.155s 3. Jeff Gordon Hendrick Chevrolet + 3.761s 4. Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Chevrolet + 4.467s 5. Kevin Harvick Childress Chevrolet + 7.059s 6. Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Toyota + 7.880s 7. Carl Edwards Roush Fenway Ford + 8.108s 8. Juan Pablo Montoya Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet + 8.884s 9. Dale Earnhardt Jr Hendrick Chevrolet + 9.014s 10. Ryan Newman Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 9.815s 11. Clint Bowyer Waltrip Toyota + 10.283s 12. Martin Truex Jr Waltrip Toyota + 10.519s 13. Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Ford + 11.350s 14. Kurt Busch Furniture Row Chevrolet + 12.165s 15. Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 12.665s 16. Jamie McMurray Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet + 20.557s 17. Kasey Kahne Hendrick Chevrolet + 22.999s 18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr Roush Fenway Ford + 1 lap 19. Paul Menard Childress Chevrolet + 1 lap 20. Aric Almirola Petty Ford + 1 lap 21. Jeff Burton Childress Chevrolet + 2 laps 22. Joey Logano Penske Ford + 2 laps 23. Travis Kvapil BK Toyota + 3 laps 24. Regan Smith Phoenix Chevrolet + 4 laps 25. Mark Martin Waltrip Toyota + 4 laps 26. Bobby Labonte JTG Daugherty Toyota + 4 laps 27. Dave Blaney Baldwin Chevrolet + 5 laps 28. Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Chevrolet + 5 laps 29. David Gilliland Front Row Ford + 5 laps 30. Landon Cassill Circle Sport Chevrolet + 7 laps 31. Joe Nemechek NEMCO Toyota + 8 laps 32. Brad Keselowski Penske Ford  + 9 laps 33. Timmy Hill FAS Lane Ford + 9 laps 34. Marcos Ambrose Petty Ford + 9 laps 35. JJ Yeley Baldwin Chevrolet + 13 laps Retirements: David Reutimann BK Toyota 327 laps Casey Mears Germain Ford 327 laps Josh Wise Front Row Ford 326 laps David Ragan Front Row Ford 318 laps David Stremme Swan Toyota 230 laps Scott Speed Leavine Ford 77 laps Michael McDowell Parsons Ford 58 laps Mike Bliss Humphrey Smith Toyota 18 laps 
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Darlington NASCAR: Kurt Busch takes surprise pole for Furniture Row

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