After Clint Bowyer's hopes of scoring his first Kansas Speedway victory were derailed by an engine problem, it seemed few storylines could be any more dramatic as the race moved along.
First polesitter A.J. Allmendinger, who led the opening 44 circuits, had a cylinder drop in his Dodge. He is limping around the track, already off the lead lap and likely to lose more before his engine blows.
Then, the two drivers in pursuit of race leader Martin Truex Jr. both ran out of fuel. Kevin Harvick's car stumbled first and dropped him from the runner-up position to 15th-place. Kasey Kahne assumed second-place before his own car ran dry and left him outside the top-20.
Jimmie Johnson, meanwhile, had a lugnut hang up on the right-rear on his most recent pit stop, dropping him down to sixth position.
In the midst of all the problems, Truex is turning in his finest performance in years. He is seeking to end his 174-race winless drought, dating back to his only-career win at Dover in June 2007 and the first victory for Atlanta-based NAPA Auto Parts as a sponsor since Truex's car owner Michael Waltrip won at Talladega in September 2003.