LONG POND, PA. – Joey Logano was the first leader to fade, his tank empty with three laps left.
Martin Truex Jr. struck E with two laps to go.
Kyle Busch knew his Toyota was about out, too, his shot at a fourth consecutive victory tapped out on the last lap.
One by one, fuel woes cost the contenders. But they were the break Matt Kenseth needed to coast past them all in the final thrilling laps Sunday to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Pocono Raceway.
The 400-mile race came down to fuel and which cars had it — and which ones didn't.
"I couldn't catch them anyway but I just wanted to get as close as I could in case they ran out," Kenseth said.
Once they ran out, Kenseth not only had enough left in the tank to win, he pulled off a celebratory burnout.
Kenseth's win continued the sensational summer run for Joe Gibbs Racing, making it five wins in the past six races. Busch, who had the other victories, failed in his bid to become the ninth driver since 1972 and the first since Jimmie Johnson in 2007 to win four consecutive Cup races.
Busch remained outside the top 30 in points, the second marker he needs to hit to qualify for the Chase.
"I wish I had saved a little more," Busch said. "I wish I had known [Logano] was that far from making it. It's a shame we couldn't get it done."
With a victory, Busch would have had the points needed to at least crack the top 30 in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Truex finished 19th, Logano 20th and Busch 21st.
"I was saving fuel just to cushion it," Logano said. "I thought I was going to be good and then I started running out and knew we weren't going to make it. We were so close. "
Brad Keselowski was second, followed by Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Greg Biffle.
Kenseth had the only position that mattered, winning for the second time this season and for the first time ever at Pocono.
"I never thought I'd win at Pocono," he said.
Cars, crews, walls and equipment, all took beatings over 400 miles.
Kasey Kahne kicked off a race stuffed with carnage when his No. 5 got loose and slammed the inside pit road wall. Kahne's hit buckled the wall, sent helmets flying and crew members scurrying.
Later, Keselowski slid through his pit stall and took out three members of his crew. His tire changer and tire carrier both jumped on the hood and the team jackman was clipped by the left side of No.2 Ford. One tire got free and rolled down pit road before coming to a complete stop.