Kenseth made the decision to forgo tire changes and merely refuel during the last round of stops under caution with 24 laps to go, providing the difference at the rain-delayed Quaker State 400.
The race was held Sunday after persistent rain a day earlier had forced its postponement.
Jimmie Johnson led for 182 of 267 laps, but after exiting pit row second spun out in front of Joey Logano with 17 laps to go and settled for ninth place.
Bowyer claimed third while Logano and Kyle Busch completed the Top 5.
Pole-sitter Dale Earnhardt Jr. ended up in 12th place.
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