Kasey Kahne Victorious at Pocono
NASCAR - Long Pond, PA
Kahne, 33, started the race from the 18th position and immediately began charging his way towards the front. The driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS improved seven positions in the early stages, running as high as 11th just prior to a Lap 15 caution for an incident in Turn 3. After pitting for two tires and adjustments, Kahne returned to the track in the 12th position and quickly made his way into the top 10 on the ensuing restart.
Kahne moved into the top five for the first time in the 400-mile event on Lap 34. He remained inside the top five and utilized strategy during the third caution period of the afternoon – a Lap 54 incident – to take the lead for the first time.
Kahne remained in the top spot until crew chief Kenny Francis called the No. 5 Chevy SS to pit road for four-tires just shy of the halfway point. Kahne returned to the track in the 10th position but chose to stay during the fourth caution of the afternoon to move back into second. He quickly re-assumed the lead on the restart and pulled away to a seven-second lead over the rest of the field in the ensuing 25 laps.
As the race was winding down, Kahne came to pit road for the final time with just 31 laps remaining for four tires and fuel. He regained the race lead as the final round of pit stops were completed and held off a hard-charging Jeff Gordon and a late race restart to earn his second career victory at Pocono.
Kahne, who now has 16 career Sprint Cup Series wins, improved one spot in the driver standings and now ranks eighth.
“I just felt like our Farmers Insurance Chevy was the best car. Kenny (Francis) called a great race with strategy and kept me in the front the whole time once we got there. We started 18th so we had a little ways to go, but we were gaining on the leaders from the time the race went green. When that caution came out at the end of the race, we had a pretty big lead, and I knew Jeff (Gordon) was going to be tough. I felt like he was beating me on restarts a little bit, and I about gave it away when Jeff got by me. I had one opportunity. It was either to go for it and make it work or not on that last restart and as good as our Farmers Insurance Chevrolet had been all day long, I thought we could make that work on the outside. I just needed to clear him and when we got to Turn 2, I was able to do that. It was a great race. We had a really fast car. Kenny called an awesome race and the whole pit crew did a perfect job. We needed this one to get in the Chase. We really did. It feels really good. We have a strong team, and they’re doing a great job.”
“They're definitely all important, but this win was pretty special looking at all the crazy stuff that's happened to us over the summer and the past eight to ten weeks. We've had a lot of good race cars and didn't have much to show for it so to come here, dominate the race and get the win in the end, that was pretty cool. That was a really cool pass Kasey made on that last restart. We were all about to jump off the box when he did that. It was kind of nerve‑racking. You're sitting there racing your teammate, and you want them to have a good finish too. But at the end of the day, we're out for ourselves. I'm just thankful that we were able to get the win.”
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