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Top 3 from Darlington weigh in on Southern 500 runs

May 13, 2013, 5:19 PM EDT

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The top three finishers from Saturday night’s Bojangles Southern 500, the last NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race before a two-week stretch at Charlotte for the Sprint All-Star Race and Coca-Cola 600, had reason to celebrate with the odds against them going into the night.

Winner Matt Kenseth took his first Southern 500 victory with interim crew chief Wally Brown. Denny Hamlin, in second, raced hard in his first full race since his injuries suffered at Auto Club Speedway at the end of March. And Jeff Gordon, who’d been off to a rough start with only two top-10 finishes from the first 10 races, finished a needed third in his 700th career start.

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