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Past champion Kenseth on a major roll in debut season with Joe Gibbs Racing

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    Matt Kennseth (20) passes Kyle Busch (18) on the back stretch on lap 355 on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race in Darlington, S.C. (AP Photo/Willis Glassgow)The Associated Press

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    Matt Kennseth's pit crew works on his car during a pt stop on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race in Darlington, S.C. (AP Photo/Willis Glassgow)The Associated Press

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    Matt Kenseth celebrates in Victory Lane and holds up three fingers to signify his third win this year after, after he won the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Darlington Raceway, Saturday, May 11, 2013, in Darlington, S.C. †(AP Photo/Mic Smith)The Associated Press

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    Matt Kenseth (20) prepares to pass his teammate Kyle Busch late in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Darlington Raceway, Saturday, May 11, 2013, in Darlington, S.C. Kenseth went on to win the race. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)The Associated Press

Matt Kenseth has rarely been more pleased in victory than he was Saturday night at Darlington Raceway. Maybe that's because of what he overcame to achieve the win.

Kenseth has long been one of NASCAR's stars, a past champion with two Daytona 500 titles. But the 41-year-old racer has found a new gear in his first season at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Kenseth passed JGR teammate Kyle Busch with 13 laps left to win for the first time at Darlington and third time this season. The latest win came with replacement crew chief Wally Brown, pressed into service due to the suspension of Jason Ratcliff.

Like most hurdles in Kenseth's way in his career, he drove through it on the way to what he hopes are bigger things ahead.