Kenseth was without his regular crew chief Jason Ratcliff, who was serving a one-race suspension stemming from the issues discovered on Kenseth’s race-winning car from Kansas Speedway in April. Wally Brown manned the pit box for Kenseth and led the team to victory, his first as a crew chief.
“Honestly I’ve only dreamed about winning the Southern 500. This, to me, feels bigger than probably any win in my career,” Kenseth said. “I really feel bad that Jason’s not here. This is obviously his team and his effort, but Wally did a great job filling in.”
Denny Hamlin, making his full-time return to the Sprint Cup Series after a back injury at California’s Auto Club Speedway in March, finished second.
“I’m tired. I’m just worn out. This is a tough grueling race, so there is nothing to hang our heads about,” Hamlin said. “I needed a 600 mile race. We’ll get that in a few weeks.”
Jeff Gordon, making his 700th consecutive Sprint Cup start, finished third. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick completed the top five.
Busch faded through the field after losing the lead to Kenseth, eventually crossing the line in sixth. It was discovered after the race that Busch had a cut right-rear tire.