LOUDON, N.H. -- Matt Kenseth claimed his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win of the 2016 season on Sunday with a victory in the New Hampshire 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
"You're always pleased to be in victory lane," Kenseth said. "The farther down the road you get, the better they feel, for sure. Thanks to everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing. I've said it a million times, but I'm blessed with this opportunity to be over here with the guys I get to work with and my great sponsors."
After starting 18th, he got to the front in the final quarter and maintained his position over most of the remaining laps.
"I didn't do a very good job qualifying, and after round one (of pit stops) today, it (the car) was pretty much money," Kenseth said. "We just had to get there. It was a fun day."
Tony Stewart took runner-up honors after getting by Joey Logano in the final five laps. Logano managed to hold off Kevin Harvick to take third, and Harvick finished fourth. Greg Biffle finished fifth.
"It's funny; seemed like Tony and I -- we fell backwards together," Logano said. "We started driving through the field together. We were around each other all day and never thought the two of us would be racing for second at the end of the race like that. Overall, proud of the effort the team put in - never-quit attitude. It really paid off today."
Kenseth first took the lead with 43 laps to go. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. had combined to lead all but two laps of the race to that point. Other lap leaders were Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski.
Johnson led the first lap after starting on the pole before Busch took the top spot. Keselowski led lap 184 during a cycle of green-flag pit stops.
Denny Hamlin stayed out during a debris caution inside the final 40 laps to inherit the lead. After a physical battle on the restart that followed, Kenseth regained the top spot. Hamlin, on older tires, dropped back through the field and pitted when the yellow flag waved again with 20 laps remaining.
After combining to dominate most of the race, Busch and Truex struggled late. During one late-race caution, Truex reported to his crew that he was suffering from issues with his shifter and clutch.
Busch, meanwhile, restarted second to Kenseth with 17 laps remaining and was third for the final restart with seven laps to go. But in the final green-flag run to the checkered flag, Busch lost more positions, dropping outside the top five. He finished eighth.
The yellow flag waved seven times throughout the race, even though there were only two cautions in the first two-thirds of the 301-lap race. The yellow flag waved on lap 100 when Josh Wise got into the wall and Chris Buescher spun while trying to avoid him.
Inside the final 30 laps, Alex Bowman, filling in behind the wheel of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet normally driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., suffered a tire issue and, as a result, hit the wall. At the same time, his HMS teammate Chase Elliott also wrecked. Bowman ran several laps inside the top 10 before his crash in his substitute role.
The yellow flag waived again when a tire issue resulted in a Kurt Busch wreck with 20 laps to go. When the race restarted with 17 to go, the yellow flag was up again when Kyle Larson got off track and ran through the infield grass.
"Every restart, you're just hoping not to mess up and spin the tires too bad," Kenseth said. "Thankfully we had good ones, and we had great power, and we had good traction, and we were able to get going pretty good in a straight line and then after a couple laps, we were able to roll the middle and get away."
There was a competition caution on lap 36 because of rain at the track earlier in the day. The other two cautions were for debris.
NOTES: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (concussion-like symptoms) was sidelined for the New Hampshire 301. Alex Bowman filled in behind the wheel of the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. Jeff Gordon was the first choice to drive the car, but he was vacationing in France with his family. ... NASCAR moved Sunday's schedule up by five minutes because of the prediction of rain in the area later in the afternoon. ... Kyle Busch led all but 10 laps and won the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Saturday. ... Brad Keselowski headed into Sunday's race riding a wave of momentum from two consecutive wins at Kentucky Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. ... Busch won last year's New Hampshire 301, but Matt Kenseth was the most recent Sprint Cup winner at NHMS, winning the Chase for the Sprint Cup race hosted by the track last fall.