Monday, August 5, 2013

Kasey Kahne Wins the 400 from Pocono

Originally written for CLNS Radio.

Kasey Kahne outran his teammate Jeff Gordon to win the 400 from Pocono Raceway on Sunday afternoon.

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
Kahne led 66 of 160 laps on Sunday, the most of any other driver.  But he almost lost the race on a late-race restart, when his teammate Gordon got around him with just seven laps to go.  But a caution came out with just five laps to go, and Kahne was able to retake the lead when the race restarted with two laps to go.
Kahne said he knew how close he was to losing the race.

"I about gave it away there," Kahne told ESPN.  "I knew I would have to go for it and make it work or not."
Kahne also said that this was a win that his team desperately needed.

"It was a great race, we had a fast car, Kenny [Francis] called a great race," said Kahne.  "We needed this one to get in the Chase and we got it."

The race was dominated early by Jimmie Johnson, who started on the pole.  The first caution came out as soon as the cars went down to Turn 1 for the first time.  Juan Pablo Montoya got into Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and they also collected Matt Kenseth.

Johnson led when the race went back green, and the next caution came out on lap 15 for a spin by Denny Hamlin.  Johnson led again at the green flag, and he didn't give up the lead until he had to make a green flag pit stop on lap 34.  Johnson took the lead again on lap 47, after the green flag stops had cycled around.  

David Gilliland hit the wall on lap 54, and his car erupted in flames, bringing out the third caution of the race.  Kurt Busch beat Johnson off pit road, and they both restarted behind Brad Keselowski, who stayed out under the caution.  

Kahne took the lead when the race restarted, but Johnson chased him down and took the lead on lap 73.  On lap 77, Johnson blew a right-front tire while leading the race, and he brought out the fourth caution of the day.

The race restarted on lap 82, and Keselowski took the lead away from Kahne, but he would take it back on lap 92.  The next caution came out just three laps later, when David Stremme blew a right-front tire and hit the wall.  

Martin Truex Jr. did not pit under the caution, and he led the race when the green flag came back out on lap 100.  The caution came back out on lap 102, when Aric Almirola spun after cutting a left-rear tire.  Under the caution, Truex pitted, which gave the lead back to Kahne.

Kahne led the race back to green on lap 107, but a caution on lap 110 reset the field again.  Danica Patrick made contact with Travis Kvapil, and they collected Paul Menard and Jeff Burton as they spun across the track.  The race restarted on lap 116, and Kahne led until he pitted on lap 130.  

Kahne retook the lead once stops had cycled around with 23 laps to go, but a caution with 12 laps to go for debris reset the field, and erased a seven-second lead that Kahne had over Gordon.  The race restarted on lap 152, and Gordon was able to work his way around Kahne for the lead.

With five laps to go, Kenseth spun to bring out the final caution of the day.  The race restarted with two laps to go, and Kahne worked his way around Gordon going into Turn 2 to win the race.

Here are the unofficial results:

1. Kasey Kahne
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Kurt Busch
4. Ryan Newman
5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Joey Logano
8. Kyle Busch
9. Tony Stewart
10. Greg Biffle
11. Carl Edwards
12. Marcos Ambrose
13. Jimmie Johnson
14. Clint Bowyer
15. Martin Truex Jr.
16. Jamie McMurray
17. Kevin Harvick
18. Mark Martin
19. Bobby Labonte
20. Aric Almirola
21. David Ragan
22. Matt Kenseth
23. Dave Blaney
24. Casey Mears
25. J.J. Yeley
26. Travis Kvapil
27. Timmy Hill
28. Juan Pablo Montoya
29. Landon Cassill
30. David Stremme
31. David Reutimann
32. Paul Menard
33. AJ Allmendinger
34. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
35. Danica Patrick
36. Jeff Burton
37. Joe Nemechek
38. Tony Raines
39. David Gilliland
40. Michael McDowell
41. Josh Wise
42. Alex Kennedy
43. Denny Hamlin

Next week, the Sprint Cup Series heads to Watkins Glen International for the final road course race of the season.  The Cheez-It 355 at the Glen can be seen next Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET, only on ESPN.

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