KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Dale Earnhardt Jr. was charging again, hoping that this time he'd be on top of a frantic late fuel-mileage battle.
Leader Brad Keselowski stretched his fuel perfectly, dashing Earnhardt's hopes of snapping his 106-race winless streak while ending his own.
Keselowski held off Earnhardt to win Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway for his first win since taking Talladega 75 races ago.
Keselowski led the final nine laps, conserving just enough fuel to stave off Earnhardt. It's the second Sprint Cup win in 66 races for Keselowski - and the first for Penske Racing since Kurt Busch won last year's Coca Cola 600.
"We finally caught a break. Awesome call, Paul," Keselowski radioed to crew chief Paul Wolfe, who guided him to the Nationwide Series championship and moved up to the Cup Series this year to help the driver rebound from last year's rocky season.
Earnhardt finished second for the second week in a row in a fuel mileage race. Earnhardt appeared to have enough to make a late charge on Keselowski. That push never came - although Earnhardt did move up to third in the points standings.
Denny Hamlin was third, followed by Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards, who holds a 40-point lead on Jimmie Johnson in the points standings.
Pole-sitter Kurt Busch led for 152 laps Sunday and finished ninth. He had to stop for gas as the leader with 10 laps remaining.
"I was all smiles. I felt the groove again, to lead the race. It was great, it was solid. There was always something in the back of my mind that we weren't going to win, but I am proud Brad Keselowski did," Kurt Busch said.
Kyle Busch cleared. NASCAR cleared Kyle Busch for his role in an altercation with 65-year-old car owner Richard Childress after the Trucks Series race at Kansas Speedway. NASCAR president Mike Helton said Childress was allowed to stay for Sunday's Sprint Cup race in Kansas because his team needs leadership. But his track access will be restricted, and NASCAR said in a separate statement that it will address the owner's actions Monday.