Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kahne earns needed second win, Hendrick team dominates

Kasey Kahne celebrates in Victory Lane at Pocono
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images  
Kasey Kahne won Sunday's GoBowling.com 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway. He took home his second win of the season by passing teammate Jeff Gordon after the final restart of the race. Kahne started the race in 18th and said his car felt good all day.

The finish marks Kahne's ninth top-10 finish in 2013 and second career win at Pocono. His first victory of the season came at Bristol in March.

The season started out tough for the driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet with a 36th-place finish in the Daytona 500. Kahne's season continued with four finishes of 30th or worse, including a 42nd-place at Talladega.

Despite a few hairy restarts, Kahne was able to make it stick, and with a push from Kurt Busch, beat his teammate to the finish line. According to Kahne, their No. 5 was the better car.

During a post-race press conference at Pocono, Kahne said he knew the guys behind him wanted a win just as bad as he did, and that he would have his hands full.

"We've been really fast this whole season, especially through the summer months. Just things have happened and we don't have much to show for, but today we finished it off and put a full race together."

Three Hendrick drivers finished in the top five, with Gordon taking second and Earnhardt Jr. in fifth. After starting from the pole, a blown right front tire on Lap 75 kept Jimmie Johnson from the Pocono sweep he was chasing, but he managed a respectable 13th-place showing.

All four Hendrick drivers led throughout the day for a combined total of 138 laps. Kahne led the most laps at 86, followed by Johnson with 43, Gordon with 7 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who led two laps.

"We had a really fast car," Kahne said following the race. "Kenny (Francis, crew chief) called an awesome race and the whole pit crew did a perfect job. We needed this one to get in the Chase."

Based on unofficial results, Kahne's win helped move him up one spot into eighth position in the point standings. He is now tied with Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch, who each have two wins.

Johnson still leads the points race, now 77 points ahead of Clint Bowyer. Earnhardt remains in fifth and Gordon moved up one position into ninth.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen International next weekend for the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen. In nine races at the seven-turn road course, Kahne's best finish is 13th.

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