Kahne Claims Second Place at Charlotte Motor Speedway
NASCAR - Charlotte, NC
Kasey opened the event from the fifth position and was running third by Lap 25, which is when the first caution flag was waved. He reported that his No. 5 Quaker State Chevrolet SS was slightly loose in the center, so Crew Chief Kenny Francis called for necessary chassis adjustments during his trip into the pits. Kasey won the race off pit road after a swift right-side tire and fuel stop. He lined up next to teammate Jimmie Johnson for the Lap 28 restart and led two laps before settling into second.
Kasey reclaimed the lead on Lap 44 and paced the field for 30 more laps before making his green-flag stop on Lap 74. He resumed the lead back on-track and eclipsed the 1,000-laps led mark at the 1.5-mile oval — a track-best for the Hendrick Motorsports driver.
Kasey spent the first half of the race running in the top five with his Hendrick Motorsports teammates, and the second half atop the leaderboard. He decided to give the outside lane a try for the Lap 177 restart, but lost ground to Johnson. Kasey initially reported he seemed to be on the splitter during the green-flag run, but as the race progressed, the car started to come to him.
With 100 laps to go, Kenny encouraged Kasey to start saving fuel. He told him the No. 5 Chevy SS would be three to four laps shy of making it to the end on one more stop. The fuel issue was erased when the caution flag waved on Lap 307. Kasey, running second, stopped for right-side tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. He won the race off pit road, and lined up next to teammate Jeff Gordon for the restart. Kahne edged him on the ensuing lap, but was unable to hold off eventual winner Brad Keselowski, who took four tires during the stop. Kasey crossed the finish line in second.
“We had a great race, and we had a really good Quaker State Chevrolet throughout the whole race,” said Kasey. “I was on two (tires) and Brad (Keselowski) was on four (tires) there at the end and he could just move around a little bit better. I was trying to move around, but I was just a little bit on the tight side with the front end, then I would get loose if I got the front working. I was doing all I could and felt pretty good, but he made some nice moves and just really had some speed there late in the race and was able to get by me.”
Kasey and the No. 5 team head to Talladega Superspeedway this weekend for the sixth race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
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