Under the Spotlight: Kasey Kahne Dominates at Darlington

(Photo Credit: Geoff Burke/Getty
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 Kasey Kahne became the driver "too tough to tame" nabbing his first win of the season and third win in the Camping World Truck Series in Saturday’s Too Tough To Tame 200 at Darlington Raceway.

Although Kahne is an experienced driver in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide series, Kahne’s resume includes only four starts in the CWTS, two of which have been for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

Of the four starts, Kahne has had an impressive three victories. Two of the three wins have come at Darlington – the other at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He also finished second last year at Pocono, losing the win to fellow CWTS driver and former Sprint Cup series teammate Elliot Sadler.

Kyle Busch also said “hola” (hello in Spanish) to another victory as team owner of the No. 18 Toyota. Busch asked Kahne to drive in his absence as he and wife Samantha were vacationing in Cancun, Mexico.

Following Kahne’s win, Samantha Busch tweeted: “muy bueno 18 team!”

Qualifying second, alongside 19-year-old rookie and fellow Red Bull Racing driver Cole Whitt, Kahne remained consistent throughout the race leading four different times for a total of 95 of the 147 laps.
After careful strategy and a series of good pit stops, Kahne managed to hang on to the lead through four restarts.

With the final restart and only three laps to go, Kahne was able to hold off four-time series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. and veteran driver and 2010 Darlington winner Todd Bodine.

Kahne’s driving was tested during the final laps of the race as Bodine closed in on him, but lost his position to Hornaday during the final restart after getting loose and making contact.

“It was pretty close, that last restart was really exciting,” Kahne said. “From my seat it was good.”

Saturday’s victory made Kahne the first driver to win three of his first four starts in the CWTS.

Kahne was perhaps considered an unlikely winner to many with such stiff competition among the top five finishers - two veteran drivers, Hornaday and Bodine, and the current series leader, Matt Crafton.

Kahne’s margin of victory was 1.116 seconds over Hornaday.

“This is one of my favorite race tracks,” Kahne said. “I’m really glad I came. I really enjoy driving this thing.”

Celebrating from different parts of the world, Kyle Busch from Cancun and Kahne from victory lane in Darlington, Kahne said, “I’ll buy him a vacation any time to drive his truck.”

Perhaps this means future opportunities for Kahne in the NCWTS and more vacations for Kyle Busch in 2011.
Under the Spotlight: Kasey Kahne Dominates at Darlington Under the Spotlight: Kasey Kahne Dominates at Darlington Reviewed by Unknown on Sunday, March 13, 2011 Rating: 5