Kahne scores convincing NASCAR Busch Series win
For Kasey Kahne, Saturday night's CARQUEST Auto Parts 300 NASCAR Busch Series race proved to be an oasis of success in an otherwise barren year of NASCAR competition. Photo right courtesy of CIA Stock Photo
Kahne, who started 32nd and charged through the field, pulled away during an 11-lap green-flag run to the finish and beat Casey Mears to the stripe by 2.448 seconds at Lowe's Motor Speedway to collect the sixth victory of his series career.
Clint Bowyer ran third, followed by Jeff Burton and Regan Smith. Jimmie Johnson, polesitter Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Scott Wimmer and Stephen Leicht completed the top 10.
"We're working hard to get better," Kahne said, referring to a season in which he had posted just two previous top-10 finishes in NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series combined. "I'm hoping this will help us tomorrow (Sunday). We learned a lot of things tonight."
On Sunday, Kahne will attempt to win his second straight Coca-Cola 600 at LMS.
"You wake up feeling better when you win races, or when you finish in the top five," Kahne said.
Along with Mears and Greg Biffle, Kahne stayed out on old tires when many of the frontrunners came to the pits on Lap 145. After restarting third behind Biffle and Mears on Lap 156 -- after another caution -- the
driver of the No. 9 Dodge passed Mears for the lead on Lap 159.
A caution for Kyle Krisiloff's wreck on Lap 184 bunched the field for the final 11 laps, but Kahne quickly pulled away after the restart on Lap 190.
Mistakes and misfortune took several of the top cars out of contention. Kurt Busch led 52 laps, but a lug nut problem on a green-flag pit stop cost him a lap, and an accident out of Turn 4 on Lap 149 took him out of the race.
Johnson, competing in his only NASCAR Busch Series race of the season so far, led 16 laps in the middle portion of the race, but a spin in Turn 2 on Lap 144 dropped him to the back of the lead-lap cars and deprived the driver of the No. 48 Chevy of a chance to win.
Strong in the early stages of the 200-lap event, Denny Hamlin scraped the outside wall once too often. Hard contact with the concrete on Lap 158 forced him to the pits and left him two laps down to the leaders. He finished three laps down in 34th place.
Points leader Carl Edwards lost a lap after spinning in Turn 4 on Lap 112 and posted his worst finish in the series in 13 races this season --17th.