Last week, Kasey Kahne had the best car of the weekend, but he was beaten by Matt Kenseth after Kenseth used pit strategy to gain an advantage. Kahne came into Bristol looking to win after missing his chance last Sunday, and he was able to take the lead on a late restart and hold off the rest of the field to win his first race of 2013.
|Kahne celebrates his Bristol win (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)|
The race restarted on lap 16, and Busch was able to get ahead of Kahne again. By lap 35, Busch caught lapped traffic, and that allowed Kahne to catch up. On lap 54, a bunch of cars got together, causing the field to stack up. Jeff Burton ended up in the wall, and Carl Edwards and Marcos Ambrose also received damage. The field came down pit road, and Kahne was able to beat Denny Hamlin out of the pits for the lead. Busch was caught speeding, and had to restart at the end of the field.
The race restarted on lap 63, and Kahne was able to get the lead heading into Turn 1. Hamlin was able to make the bottom line work, and he took the lead from Kahne on lap 64. On lap 70, Jamie McMurray spun in Turn 4, and brought out the third caution of the race.
The race restarted on lap 78, and Hamlin was able to get ahead of Kahne for the lead. Kurt Busch got around Kahne for second, and set his sights on the leader. On lap 143, Kahne, Busch, and Jeff Gordon caught Hamlin while he was fighting lapped traffic. On lap 147, Kahne was able to work around Hamlin for the lead, and Gordon was able to get second. David Gilliland got into the wall on lap 151, and he brought out the fourth caution of the day. The field came down to make pit stops, and Hamlin was able to win the race off pit road, beating teammate Kyle Busch.
The race restarted on lap 159, and Hamlin was able to beat Busch into Turn 1 to take the lead. One lap later, Bobby Labonte blew an engine, and he took his car to the garage. Kahne was able to catch and pass Hamlin on lap 191.
On lap 236, Landon Cassill hit the wall and brought out the caution. The leaders came down pit road, and Matt Kenseth was able to beat Hamlin and Busch off pit road to take the lead.
The race restarted on lap 242, and Kenseth was able to clear Hamlin for the lead. Johnson was also able to get around Hamlin for second. Aric Almirola got into the wall on lap 245, but he was able to get to pit road without bringing out a caution. Almirola pitted and went back out onto the track, and he spun in Turn 4 on lap 249, bringing out the sixth caution.
|Hamlin leads Kenseth (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)|
Gordon led the field back to the green flag on lap 328, and he was able to clear Kahne to take the lead. Joey Logano was fighting with Gordon for the lead on lap 337, and allowed Hamlin to catch them. Logano cut Hamlin off coming off the corner, so Hamlin spun Logano on lap 347, bringing out another caution.
The restart came on lap 354, and Hamlin was able to stay alongside Gordon through the corner. Coming out of the corner, Hamlin got extremely loose and he quickly dropped back to sixth. On lap 390, Gordon drove off into the corner and blew a right-front tire. Kenseth was running in the high line, and he drove right into Gordon's car. The leaders came down pit road, and Kahne made a two-tire stop to win the race off pit road.
Brad Keselowski and Paul Menard stayed out under caution, and they led the field back to the green flag on lap 403. Keselowski was able to clear Menard heading into Turn 1 to take the lead. With 74 laps to go, Kahne had caught Keselowski, and he was running right on the bumper of Keselowski. Kahne raced alongside Keselowski for the lead for over 10 laps, and that allowed Hamlin to catch the leaders.
On lap 446, Kahne was able to get around Keselowski for the lead, but Keselowski got the lead back two laps later when Kahne got caught up with lapped traffic. On lap 454, Jimmie Johnson brought out the 10th caution of the day when he blew a right-front tire and hit the wall.
|Kahne races with Kyle Busch (John Harrelson/Getty Images)|
Kurt Busch was able to get under Bowyer for third with 10 laps to go. With eight laps to go, Hamlin pounded the outside wall, and it bent the suspension. Hamlin's car would no longer turn and he was just bouncing it off the wall to stay in the race.
Kyle Busch was able to separate himself from Keselowski and Kurt Busch, but he didn't have a good enough car to catch Kasey Kahne. Kahne was able to win the Food City 500, the 15th win of his career. Kyle Busch finished second, and he was followed by Brad Keselowski in third. Kurt Busch had a strong run and finished fourth, and Clint Bowyer finished fifth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished sixth, and Ryan Newman finished seventh. Brian Vickers finished eighth driving the No. 55 Toyota. Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray rounded out the Top 10. Greg Biffle finished 11th, and Martin Truex Jr. finished 12th. Kevin Harvick finished 14th, and Carl Edwards was 18th, the first car one lap down. Jimmie Johnson finished 22nd, and Denny Hamlin limped around the track and finished 23rd. Danica Patrick finished 28th, five laps down. After his wreck at the beginning of the race, Tony Stewart finished 31st, 36 laps down. Jeff Gordon finished 34th and Matt Kenseth was 35th after their wreck on lap 390.
Kasey Kahne sent a message to the rest of the field at Bristol. He had the best car two weeks in a row, and he was finally able to pick up a victory. He should be strong next week, when the Sprint Cup Series rolls into California. And with speeds around 210 mph, the new Gen 6 cars will be pushed to their limits. The Auto Club 400 can be seen next Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET, only on FOX.
|John Harrelson/Getty Images|