Kahne wins thrilling Food City 500 at Bristol

Ever since Kasey Kahne made his Sprint Cup Series debut back in 2004, he’s been fast.

In just his second start, Kahne finished second to Matt Kenseth in the final race at the track formerly North Carolina Motor Speedway in a photo-finish.

Last week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kahne had arguably the fastest car throughout the race. But when push came to shove, it was Matt Kenseth taking the checkered flag for the first time with his new Joe Gibbs Racing team while Kahne was relegated to second-place after he couldn’t find a way around the No.20 of Kenseth.

Sunday’s finish in the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway was far from a photo finish as Kahne won for the first time at the “World’s Fastest Half-Mile” for the first time in his Sprint Cup career.

“This is a big win, I love racing for Hendrick Motorsports,” said Kahne in victory lane after the race. “This whole team was flawless again today.

“Last week, today, this whole season so far has been a lot of fun.”

Kahne led a race-high 109 of the 500 laps to claim his fifteenth career victory in NASCAR’s top level.

The No.5 of Kahne was able to get the jump around the No.2 of Brad Keselowski on the final restart of the race with 45 laps to go. From there, Kahne never looked back en route to victory.

By winning Sunday’s race, Kahne becomes the fourth different driver to win a Sprint Cup race in the opening four races of the 2013 season, and the second driver to win in a Chevrolet (Jimmie Johnson, Daytona).

“I’ve always wanted to win a race [at Bristol]. It feels good to finally get it done.”

Throughout the weekend, many pointed to the No.18 of Kyle Busch as the car to beat after breaking the track record in qualifying and setting consistently in the quickest times in the practice sessions prior to the race.

When the green flag dropped, it looked as though Busch was going to dominate the 500-lap race. But, things aren’t always that easy after he was tagged with a pit road penalty early on and was never able to reclaim his old form from the beginning of the race.

“We need to stop getting penalties and stay up front all day,” said Busch post-race after finishing second. “We’re trying to take too much on pit road and it’s not worth it. We just need to back off.”

Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin found himself locked in a battle for a top-five position with former teammate Joey Logano just past the half-way mark of the race.

The two make contact off the second turn, sending Logano’s No.22 Penske Racing Ford backside-first into the outside wall. Driving like a man possessed Logano was trying to get back to the No.11 of Hamlin as we was none-too-happy about what happened on the race track.

After the race, tempers flared between the two with Logano coming over the the car of Hamlin for some heated words between driver and crew members of both teams.

“I meant to run into him, didn’t mean to spin him out,”said Hamlin. “He said he was coming for me. I usually don’t see him so it’s not a factor.”

As expected, Logano had a different take on the ordeal than Hamlin.

“I understand the way he races now that he’s not my teammate,” said Logano. “I will race him the same way he races me.”

With four of the 36-races complete of the Sprint Cup season, Keselowski sits on top of the point standings, holding a nine-point lead over Dale Earnhardt Jr. heading into next weekend’s race at Auto Club Speedway.

Food City 500 Unofficial Results 

  1. Kasey Kahne 
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Kurt Busch
  5. Clint Bowyer
  6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  7. Ryan Newman
  8. Brian Vickers
  9. Paul Menard
  10. Jamie McMurray
  11. Greg Biffle
  12. Martin Truex Jr.
  13. AJ Allmendinger
  14. Kevin Harvick
  15. Casey Mears
  16. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  17. Joey Logano
  18. Carl Edwards
  19. Marcos Ambrose
  20. David Stremme
  21. David Ragan
  22. Jimmie Johnson
  23. Denny Hamlin
  24. David Gilliland
  25. Terry Labonte
  26. Josh Wise
  27. JJ Yeley
  28. Danica Patrick
  29. Joe Nemechek
  30. Juan Pablo Montoya
  31. Tony Stewart
  32. Jeff Burton
  33. Landon Cassill
  34. Jeff Gordon
  35. Matt Kenseth
  36. Dave Blaney
  37. Aric Almirola
  38. Travis Kvapil
  39. David Reutimann
  40. Scott Speed
  41. Bobby Labonte
  42. Michael McDowell
  43. Mike Bliss

 

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