SPRINT Coca-Cola 600Final
Kahne makes return trip to Victory Lane at Lowe'sMay 26, 2008 - 3:31 AM CONCORD, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Kasey Kahne made a return trip to Victory Lane at Lowe's Motor Speedway, and this time its counts.
A week after pocketing $1 million for winning NASCAR's All-Star Challenge, Kahne drove his Dodge to victory in Sunday's Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at the same 1.5-mile oval.
The win was Kahne's first points victory since October 2006 - ironically at this same track - and snapped a 52-race winless drought.
It was the eighth career victory for Kahne, who became the sixth driver to win the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same season.
"It's nice to be here (in Victory Lane)," said Kahne, who moved up to 12th in the standings with the win. "We're getting back to where we need to be. It's a big night."
Kahne, who led 66 of 400 laps, took the lead when Tony Stewart blew his right rear tire and hit the wall with three laps remaining. Trailing Stewart by almost six seconds at the time, Kahne took over the lead and cruised to his first top-five finish of the season.
"There was no chance of catching (Stewart)," Kahne said. "He was as fast as we were when we pitted. I was thinking maybe he'd run out of gas. I guess he had a tire problem."
Stewart wound up 18th. It was his second heartbreaking late-race defeat of the season, as he lost the season-opening Daytona 500 when he was passed on the last lap by Ryan Newman.
Stewart was one of several drivers, along with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Brian Vickers and Kurt Busch, who had issues while leading the race.
Earnhardt blew a tire and hit the wall on lap 296. Johnson, who in 2003 was the last driver to sweep the All-Star Challenge and Coca-Cola 600, blew an engine on lap 346 and finished 39th.
Vickers lost a wheel while leading and slammed into the wall on lap 185. The tire bounced over the inside wall and dropped into a camping area, but no spectators were injured.
Kurt Busch blew a tire on lap 162.
"Dale Jr. fell out, he was awesome. Tony Stewart fell out, he was awesome," Kahne said. "They had us beat at times tonight, and we had them beat at times tonight."
Greg Biffle was second in a Ford, followed by current series leader Kyle Busch in a Toyota and the Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets of Jeff Gordon and Earnhardt.
"It's tough that Kasey beat us two weeks in a row," said Biffle, who finished second to Kahne in the All-Star Challenge. "But I'm happy with the way we bounced back from being 43rd at Darlington to finish second here."
Kyle Busch, who fell a lap down at one point with a tire issue and also had a long pit stop when his team changed his battery on pit road, increased his lead in the standings to 94 points over Jeff Burton, who was sixth in a Chevrolet.
"I thought my guys did an awesome job tonight on pit road with the battery switch," Busch said.
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