In the longest green-flag run at Darlington Raceway since NASCAR began recording caution flag statistics in 1979, the Bojangles Southern 500 went 171 laps before the first yellow flag of the race flew. Debris in turn two drew the caution to bring the field to pace car speed for the first time since the green flag flew.
Jimmie Johnson was in the process of running away with the lead as he seeks to give Rick Hendrick his 200th-career win as a Sprint Cup team owner. Positions second through fourth had been a constant back-and-forth among polesitter Greg Biffle, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr., with Denny Hamlin sitting fifth.
A side-effect of the long green-flag run, only thirteen cars were on the lead-lap when the caution flag flew. Clint Bowyer was the first driver one lap down and thus was moved back onto the lead-lap as a recipient of the Aaron's Lucky Dog.