Kahne Battles for Darlington Win and Finishes Race in 17th
NASCAR - Darlington, SC
Kahne qualified fourth for Saturday’s race and kept his car inside the top 10 for the majority of the race and worked with Crew Chief Kenny Francis to address an early handling condition that varied from slightly tight to loose in the corners.
The 367-lap event unfolded with one caution period – a Lap 124 pause for debris – and Kahne’s No. 5 team was spot-on with pit stops throughout the evening. The caution flag waved twice more in the race for nearly back-to-back spins on Laps 302 and 309.
After pitting under the first caution period and staying out on track during the second, Kahne lined up third for the restart with 50 laps to go. Kahne climbed to second within three laps while chasing leader Kyle Busch and also keeping an eye on teammate Jimmie Johnson in his rear-view mirror.
The caution flag came back out and gave Kahne an opportunity to take fresh tires and an extra splash of fuel in the pits. He exited pit road and lined up next to Busch for the restart, which he immediately won. Kahne paced the field with Busch making up ground, and within a couple laps, Busch appeared to have made contact with the left-rear of the No. 5 Chevy SS, sending Kahne into the wall. Kahne hit pit road twice during the ensuing caution period for tires and returned to the track in 16th. When the checkered flag waved, Kahne crossed the finish line 17th.
“We were racing hard,” said Kahne after the race. “I had a great Time Warner Cable Chevrolet, and I cleared (Kyle Busch) getting into (Turn) 3 so I had the outside. Then I saw he entered so early that I knew he was not going to be able to turn when we got to the corner, and I was going along. The next thing I knew, I was spinning. The car was getting better and better as the race went, but our team had to make a lot of adjustments. Three times this year me and Kyle have had contact, and I’ve had cars capable of winning, so it’s disappointing on the points side and not winning races.”
Kahne now sits sixth in the point standings, 97 points behind leader and teammate Johnson, as the No. 5 team heads into a non-points race weekend with the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in Charlotte.
Original story from Farmers Racing
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