SPRINT Pocono 500Final
Kahne wins Pocono 500 from poleJun 9, 2008 - 12:44 AM POCONO, Pennsylvania (Ticker) -- Kasey Kahne continued his resurgence Sunday, winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 500.
In a Dodge, Kahne took the lead for good with 16 laps remaining to capture his second win in the past three races. He won the Coca-Cola 600 two weeks ago and also took the checkered flag a week prior to that in the Sprint All-Star Challenge at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
Kahne, who started from the pole, now has nine career wins in the series and moved up to ninth in the standings.
"I've never had a dominant car like this one," said Kahne, who led a race-high 69 of 200 laps. "It was great all day long."
Brian Vickers was second, nearly four seconds behind Kahne in a Toyota. Denny Hamlin's Toyota was third, followed by the Chevrolets of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Burton.
"It means a lot, I'm so proud of these guys," said Vickers, who posted his best finish of the season. "The car was a bucket yesterday, but these guys got it turned around.
"I felt we had the best car there at the end, but we didn't have the tires."
Kahne did have the rubber at the end after pitting on lap 175 for fuel and four tires under green. Less than 10 laps later, he edged his way around Vickers to take the top spot for good.
"I wanted to take my time (getting back in front) but then I saw the 11 (Hamlin) coming," Kahne said. "I know he runs good here so it was time to get going."
Hamlin swept both Pocono races in 2006 and finished in the top 10 in both races last year.
Making Kahne's win all the more impressive was that he rebounded from a pit road mistake that dropped him to 38th just 59 laps in. He was forced to make two pit stops after his crew had originally planned for a four-tire stop but switched to two tires at the last second.
However, the crew had removed lug nuts from the left wheels, so Kahne had to come back in to complete the service.
Series points leader Kyle Busch was unable to bounce back from adversity Sunday. Already forced to start at the rear of the field because he was forced to use a backup car after crashing in practice, he squeezed Jamie McMurray as they crossed the start/finish line on lap 46. Busch's car suffered right-front damage when it turned into the wall, forcing him to the garage.
"I saw (McMurray) get high, get loose, and thought he faded back further than he did," Busch said. "We broke the mirror trying to adjust it there before the race and couldn't see anything out my right rear quarter panel. So I couldn't clear myself. The spotter didn't say anything, so I apologize to McMurray for wrecking their day."
Busch returned to the track on lap 133 - 83 laps down - and later spun out again and finished last. That result cut 121 points off his lead, which now is only 21 ahead of Burton.
One bright spot for Busch was that he became the first driver to compete in all three of NASCAR's national series at three different race tracks on the same weekend. He was second in Friday night's Craftsman Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway, and was 20th in the Nationwide Series race at Nashville on Saturday night.
Greg Biffle also had a disappointing finish. Running second with 34 laps to go, he felt a tire going down and pitted, but was penalized for speeding on pit road and had to serve a pass-through penalty. He wound up 15th.
"I don't know what happened. I guess I broke out that last (pit) box a half a mile an hour (too fast)," Biffle said. "I guess what happened was I was right on the maximum and then I just gave it gas a millisecond before I was across the line.
"I had probably a third-place car. I couldn't catch (Kahne). I couldn't do nothing with (him), but I think I was a top-three car or a top-four car."
Two-time reigning series champion Jimmie Johnson was sixth, followed by Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch. Carl Edwards and Mark Martin rounded out the top 10.
- Pocono 500 Preview Jun 8