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Kahne Gets First Hendrick Win And It’s A Biggie

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 27 2012

Kasey Kahne won the Coca-Cola 600 on Saturday night. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Harold Hinson)

RacinToday.com

Big things were expected of Kasey Kahne when he moved to Hendrdick Motorsports this season and Saturday in the Coca-Cola 600 Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway a big thing finally did happen. Kahne got his first win of the season.

The victory was the first for Kahne since last fall when he won at Phoenix driving for the now defunct Red Bull Racing team.

The victory also gave his owner, Rick Hendrick, his 201st Cup victory. The win came in Kahne’s 300th start in the series.

“I never doubted myself,” said Kahne, who has recorded top-10 finishes in his last six points races after an average result of 28.5 in his first six races for Hendrick. “I was upset at some of the things that may have happened. I made a huge mistake at Phoenix and hit the wall there (in the second race of the season), but other than that, we were solid — we were fast.

“It was just a matter of getting past those (six) weeks and moving on and putting some solid races together.”

Second, over 4 seconds behind, was Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing while his teammate, Kyle Busch was third.

“Just didn’t quite enough there at the end,” Busch said. “Overall, a strong night and it continues our run of strong finishes. We’ll take this.”

Greg Biffle of Roush Fenway Racing, the series points leader, was fourth and Brad Keselowski of Penske Racing was fifth.

Rounding out the top 10 were Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth.

Biffle led 194 of the first 280 laps, but with 120 to go, he was passed for the lead by Kahne. Kahne held the lead until green flag pitting began with just under 100 laps to go. Kahne slipped to third behind Hamlin and Biffle.

With 92 laps left, Biffle took the lead back. Ten laps later, debris brought out a caution. Hamlin opted to stay out and took the lead. Earnhardt also didn’t pit and he restarted the race second. Biffle restarted third with 75 laps to go and Busch fourth.

With 68 laps to go, Kahne, who quickly moved forward after the restart, passed Hamlin for the lead. From there, Kahne eased out to a lead of over a second.

With 47 laps to go, green flag pitting began. When the pitting cycled through five laps later, Kahne’s lead was in tact over Hamlin.

Kahne was never seriously challenged the rest of the way as the race stayed green and Kahne stayed fast.

RACE RESULTS

1. (7) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 400, $385,466.

2. (8) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, 400, $280,440.

3. (17) Kyle Busch, Toyota, 400, $234,398.

4. (4) Greg Biffle, Ford, 400, $201,851.

5. (24) Brad Keselowski, Dodge, 400, $149,215.

6. (12) Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet, 400, $161,810.

7. (23) Jeff Gordon, Chevrolet, 400, $167,776.

8. (14) Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 400, $126,090.

9. (28) Carl Edwards, Ford, 400, $160,676.

10. (20) Matt Kenseth, Ford, 399, $155,131.

11. (3) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 399, $110,205.

12. (15) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 399, $135,219.

13. (5) Clint Bowyer, Toyota, 398, $179,741.

14. (16) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 398, $150,341.

15. (9) Paul Menard, Chevrolet, 398, $145,788.

16. (1) Aric Almirola, Ford, 398, $129,713.

17. (10) Regan Smith, Chevrolet, 398, $128,375.

18. (18) Landon Cassill, Toyota, 398, $129,444.

19. (22) Jeff Burton, Chevrolet, 398, $108,305.

20. (29) Juan Pablo Montoya, Chevrolet, 398, $130,738.

21. (31) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, 397, $147,030.

22. (25) Casey Mears, Ford, 397, $104,680.

23. (19) Joey Logano, Toyota, 397, $134,430.

24. (13) Trevor Bayne, Ford, 397, $111,138.

25. (21) Tony Stewart, Chevrolet, 397, $108,863.

26. (39) David Gilliland, Ford, 397, $123,371.

27. (42) Kurt Busch, Chevrolet, 396, $92,755.

28. (26) Bobby Labonte, Toyota, 396, $111,788.

29. (37) Travis Kvapil, Toyota, 395, $109,552.

30. (40) Danica Patrick, Chevrolet, 395, $100,880.

31. (41) TJ Bell, Ford, 390, $88,730.

32. (2) Marcos Ambrose, Ford, 367, $96,605.

33. (11) AJ Allmendinger, Dodge, 361, $121,388.

34. (6) Mark Martin, Toyota, Engine, 338, $132,930.

35. (30) David Ragan, Ford, Engine, 281, $88,205.

36. (32) Michael McDowell, Ford, Engine, 228, $88,080.

37. (38) Scott Speed, Ford, Fuel Pump, 136, $87,855.

38. (35) David Stremme, Toyota, Rear Gear, 86, $87,742.

39. (34) Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, Vibration, 74, $93,800.

40. (36) Dave Blaney, Chevrolet, Engine, 54, $84,165.

41. (43) Joe Nemechek, Toyota, Vibration, 47, $84,005.

42. (27) Cole Whitt, Chevrolet, Vibration, 33, $83,925.

43. (33) Josh Wise, Ford, Vibration, 15, $84,290.

RACE STATISTICS

Average Speed of Race Winner: 155.687 mph.

Time of Race: 3 Hrs, 51 Mins, 14 Secs.

Margin of Victory: 4.295 Seconds.

Caution Flags: 5 for 23 laps.

Lead Changes: 31 among 11 drivers.

Lap Leaders: A. Almirola 0; M. Ambrose 1-2; A. Almirola 3-5; M. Ambrose 6-8; G. Biffle 9-14; M. Ambrose 15-22; G. Biffle 23-113; M. Ambrose 114-120; Kyle Busch 121-124; G. Biffle 125-134; J. Gordon 135-138; Kyle Busch 139-171; D. Ragan 172; Kyle Busch 173-190; G. Biffle 191-219; K. Kahne 220-221; G. Biffle 222; L. Cassill 223; G. Biffle 224-280; K. Kahne 281-307; D. Hamlin 308; G. Biffle 309-315; K. Kahne 316; G. Biffle 317; K. Kahne 318; G. Biffle 319-320; D. Hamlin 321-332; K. Kahne 333-353; B. Keselowski 354; K. Harvick 355; J. Gordon 356; K. Kahne 357-400.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): G. Biffle 9 times for 204 laps; K. Kahne 6 times for 96 laps; Kyle Busch 3 times for 55 laps; M. Ambrose 4 times for 20 laps; D. Hamlin 2 times for 13 laps; J. Gordon 2 times for 5 laps; A. Almirola 1 time for 3 laps; L. Cassill 1 time for 1 lap; K. Harvick 1 time for 1 lap; D. Ragan 1 time for 1 lap; B. Keselowski 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 12 in Points: G. Biffle – 453; M. Kenseth – 443; D. Hamlin – 437; D. Earnhardt Jr. – 435; J. Johnson – 405; M. Truex Jr. – 404; K. Harvick – 398; Kyle Busch – 391; T. Stewart – 388; C. Edwards – 372; B. Keselowski – 368; C. Bowyer – 366.

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, May 27 2012
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