In what has to be one of the best finishes of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, and with just three races remaining before the Chase, Matt Kenseth held off a hard charging Kasey Kahne to secure a fifth victory of the year.
It was a tense final 26 laps, when Kahne made the move around Juan Pablo Montoya for second, and began hunting down Kenseth for the lead. With under ten laps to go, Kahne had reached the bumper of the No. 17.
Kahne was able to get around Kenseth a couple of times, but Kenseth always managed to snatch it right back. The pair ran bumper to bumper for the remaining laps. Kenseth had just enough fuel to hold off Kahne to win the Irwin Tools Night Race, and after his burn out ran out of gas and was pushed by his team to Victory Lane.
With the victory, Kenseth is now locked into the Chase. As things stand, he will enter the Chase with the points lead with his five wins. Also locked in after Bristol were Clint Bowyer, who finished 14th. Jimmie Johnson, who was caught up in a wreck on lap 358 and finished 36th, was locked in after the Watkins Glen race.
"I tried to pass him as clean as I could. I just didn't get it done," second place Kahne said after the race.
Juan Pablo Montoya, who was caught speeding on lap 337, rebounded to finish third. It was announced this week that Montoya will not return to the No. 42 next season.
Brian Vickers ended the night in Bristol in fourth, and Joey Logano moved into 10th place in points with his seventh top five of the year.
Paul Menard was the highest finishing Richard Childress Racing driver with his sixth place effort. Jeff Gordon finished seventh, followed by Marcos Ambrose and Greg Biffle. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounded out the top ten.
Carl Edwards led a race high 119 laps, before engine problems ended his night on lap 379. He would finish 39th.
A wreck on lap 446 collected Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex, Jr. Ryan Newman Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and others. Sparks flew between Hamlin and Harvick on pit road, ending with the two drivers talking it out under the red flag.
Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch each fell out of the top ten in points after being caught up in separate incidents, and finished 30th and 31st, respectively.
Despite being caught up in the incident, Newman and Truex, Jr. are the two wild cards heading into Atlanta.
It's a Labor Day Weekend night race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway next for the Sprint Cup Series. Coverage of the AdvoCare 500 begins at 7:30 pm Eastern time on ESPN and PRN.
Thanks to NASCAR on ESPN, ESPN.com, NASCAR.com, Associated Press, USA Today, Sporting News and Racing Reference for the statistics, quotes and information used in this piece.