DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) — Matt Kenseth has rarely been more pleased in victory than he was this weekend 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 Saturday night 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 because of the suspension of Jason Ratcliff.

Like many hurdles in Kenseth’s way, he drove right through it on the way to Victory Lane.

“To be able to win a race at a track like this, especially the Southern 500, man, it’s big,” Kenseth said. “In my mind, it’s one of the biggest races we have of the year, really.”