A punctured tire on Kyle Busch's car handed Matt Kenseth his first Nationwide Series win of the season in the Diamond Hill Plywood 200 at Darlington Raceway.
Kenseth led only the last four laps of the race - three of them under caution – after Busch had to pull into the pits due to a flat right-rear tire during the penultimate caution period and just as the race was about to get into a green-white-checkered finish.
Busch had led 143 of 149 laps from pole after qualifying was rained out, and only lost the top spot on lap 40 to Carl Edwards when he ran into traffic. He got the lead back in the pits during the following caution and looked untouchable from then on.
However Kenseth eventually emerged as his main challenger in the closing stages of the race when they closed on traffic again. But just as the battle for victory started to shape up, the caution flag waved less than two laps from the scheduled finish.
Busch apparently ran over debris from the crash involving Scott Speed, Joe Nemechek and Scott Lagasse Jr on the backstretch and he remained leading the pack until being called by his team to the pits to change the deflating right-rear and take on a full new set of tires.
Kenseth led on the final restart which only allowed him to complete a quarter of a lap before the caution flags waved again for the final time due to an incident just past the start/finish line involving Morgan Shepherd, forcing the race to finish with the checkered and the yellow flags being waved simultaneously.
In hindsight, Busch would've been able to get a better finish than sixteenth in the end had he not pitted, but his team preferred not to take any risks as they are fighting for the championship.
"I knew [Kyle] had a flat and he had pretty much the best car all night, although in run one and run three we were probably as good as he was," said Kenseth, who had claimed pole position for Saturday's Sprint Cup race right before the Nationwide race.
"I knew he had a flat but I wasn't sure about what he was going to do because in the green-white-chequered, if there's a caution, the race is over. So I didn't know if he was going to attempt to restart or not but it feels good to win races."
Jason Leffler finished second despite being fourth shortly before the penultimate caution of the day came out. Carl Edwards had passed him as both tried to overtake Erik Darnell, but he quickly regained the place, matching his best result of the season in the end.
Edwards finished third and got closer to Busch in the points battle, although he once again admitted that the 24-year-old remains the driver to beat.
"We're trying so hard to catch Kyle," said Edwards. "We're trying to do it on the racetrack. That's just racing luck that he had there. I don't think we were going to finish ahead of him unless he had that. We're knocking on the door. We're doing what we've got to do but we can't get to victory lane just yet."
Erik Darnell, making only his third ever Nationwide Series start, came third in Roush Fenway's #6 car, rounding out a great night for the team as three of their cars finished in the top-four spots.
Penske's Justin Allgaier continued to impress finishing fifth ahead of Sprint Cup regular Ryan Newman who was doing his second race of the year for Kevin Harvick's team.
Brad Keselowski had a troubled race, which got off to a bad start when he made contact on the first lap with Leffler. He then spun on lap 98 and was involved in a further incident a few laps later.
Patrick Carpentier made a return to the series to drive for SK Motorsports replacing David Green and finished 17th.
Pos Driver Car Laps
1. Matt Kenseth Ford 152
2. Jason Leffler Toyota 152
3. Carl Edwards Ford 152
4. Erik Darnell Ford 152
5. Justin Allgaier Dodge 152
6. Ryan Newman Chevrolet 152
7. Mike Bliss Chevrolet 152
8. Jeff Burton Chevrolet 152
9. Brian Vickers Toyota 152
10. Scott Wimmer Chevrolet 152
11. Brad Keselowski Chevrolet 152
12. Joey Logano Toyota 152
13. Scott Speed Toyota 152
14. Steve Wallace Chevrolet 152
15. Jason Keller Ford 152
16. Kyle Busch Toyota 152
17. Patrick Carpentier Toyota 152
18. Kenny Wallace Chevrolet 152
19. Brendan Gaughan Chevrolet 152
20. Scott Speed Toyota 152
21. Tony Raines Chevrolet 152
22. Scott Lagasse Jr Toyota 152
23. Jeff Green Chevrolet 150
24. Brian Keselowski Dodge 150
25. Kevin Hamlin Dodge 149
26. Brandon Whitt Ford 149
27. Danny O'Quinn Jr Chevrolet 149
28. Eric McClure Ford 148
29. Michael Annett Toyota 148
30. Robert Richardson Jr Chevrolet 147
31. Morgan Shepherd Chevrolet 147
32. Joe Nemechek Chevrolet 143
33. Michael McDowell Toyota 139
34. John Wes Townley Ford 118
35. Kevin Lepage Ford 58
36. Kenny Hendrick Dodge 55
37. Mike Harmon Chevrolet 37
38. Travis Kittleson Chevrolet 20
39. Mark Green Chevrolet 18
40. Kertus Davis Chevrolet 16
41. Terry Cook Chevrolet 14
42. Johnny Chapman Chevrolet 13
43. Casey Atwood Chevrolet 12