Kahne Caps Off Dominant Pocono Run with a Victory

Photo- Getty Images
Photo- Getty Images

Kasey Kahne made Team Hendrick proud on Sunday at Pocono after he took the win in a day they totally dominated. A wild afternoon started with pole-sitter Jimmie Johnson leading, but when he ran into trouble just shy of the mid-point of the race, Kahne rose to the top spot. Then when a late caution sprung a dash for the win, it was Jeff Gordon taking over the lead only to be passed on another late restart by Kahne. It was a decent day for Hendrick to say the least and they’ll be sipping the champagne tonight.

Not even a lap, nor a corner into the race and trouble struck. Going into turn 1, Juan Pablo Montoya entered the corner hot and slid up into Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Both drivers went up into the wall and Matt Kenseth had nowhere to go but into the wreck. The caution flag flew early, sending a message for the remainder of the day.

Caution No.2 flew on lap 15 for the once Pocono dominator, Denny Hamlin. He slid up into the wall in turn 3, destroying his car and his chances of regaining his Pocono glory.

The decline of Johnson from a formidable opponent in the race came to a point when he blew a tire and hit the wall off of turn 1. He was the leader at that time when the caution flew. His team quickly repaired the damage giving Johnson a glimpse of hope for the remainder of the afternoon. He would end up thirteenth.

Brad Keselowski became the man up front on the restart, but ten laps later, the Kahne train blasted to the lead. He would remain there for a good portion of the afternoon, but different pit cycles prevented him from leading the whole rest of the event.

The wrecks seemed to keep coming all afternoon and one of the biggest occurred with 50 laps to go. Danica Patrick was running underneath Travis Kvapil going into turn 2 and when they came to the exit of the corner, she got loose and spun up into Kvapil. The two slapped the wall and when Patrick started to slide down the track, Paul Menard and Jeff Burton tagged her, causing extensive damage to all three machines.

A final pit stop was all that separated Kahne and the victory or that’s what we thought would when he came down pit lane with 30 laps to go. Once everyone cycled through their stops, Kahne was out front again. He was on cruise control at that point with around a five second lead over Gordon. That lead was erased when the eighth caution of the day came out with 12 laps to go.

The quick caution put the two teammates on the front row coming to the restart and it was Gordon pulling out front. Kahne was coming for that lead, but another yellow-flag gave him the chance he needed.

The restart with 2 laps to go had the two again battling for the lead, but when Kahne had a bad restart, it looked as Gordon would pull away, but he didn’t. Kahne powered back on the outside heading into turn 1 and he quickly cleared Gordon for the top spot.

Kahne didn’t need to do anything else and he took the checkered flag for the second time this season (Bristol).  In the midst of fighting for his Chase hopes, a win all but secures him a spot in the playoffs. Two wins would give him the wild card, but as of now he sits in the top ten so all he needs to do is enter the next five races and he’ll be set for a championship run.

The wild card race will continue next week when a sure to be twisted weekend will occur in Watkins Glen. This race has proven to be a wild card contenders dream and it could give someone the boost they need next Sunday in Upstate New York.

By Jason Schultz

Results via ESPN.com

POS DRIVER CAR MANUFACTURER

LAPS

MONEY

START

LED

PTS

BONUS

PENALTY

1 Kasey Kahne 5 Chevrolet

160

18

66

48

5

0

2 Jeff Gordon 24 Chevrolet

160

22

7

43

1

0

3 Kurt Busch 78 Chevrolet

160

5

9

42

1

0

4 Ryan Newman 39 Chevrolet

160

4

2

41

1

0

5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 88 Chevrolet

160

25

2

40

1

0

6 Brad Keselowski 2 Ford

160

11

14

39

1

0

7 Joey Logano 22 Ford

160

6

0

37

0

0

8 Kyle Busch 18 Toyota

160

2

0

36

0

0

9 Tony Stewart 14 Chevrolet

160

20

3

36

1

0

10 Greg Biffle 16 Ford

160

7

0

34

0

0

11 Carl Edwards 99 Ford

160

3

0

33

0

0

12 Marcos Ambrose 9 Ford

160

8

0

32

0

0

13 Jimmie Johnson 48 Chevrolet

160

1

43

32

1

0

14 Clint Bowyer 15 Toyota

160

16

0

30

0

0

15 Martin Truex Jr. 56 Toyota

160

26

7

30

1

0

16 Jamie McMurray 1 Chevrolet

160

12

1

29

1

0

17 Kevin Harvick 29 Chevrolet

160

14

0

27

0

0

18 Mark Martin 55 Toyota

160

28

0

26

0

0

19 Bobby Labonte 47 Toyota

160

33

0

25

0

0

20 Aric Almirola 43 Ford

160

10

1

25

1

0

21 David Ragan 34 Ford

160

30

1

24

1

0

22 Matt Kenseth 20 Toyota

160

24

1

23

1

0

23 Dave Blaney 7 Chevrolet

160

32

3

22

1

0

24 Casey Mears 13 Ford

160

29

0

20

0

0

25 J.J. Yeley 36 Chevrolet

160

36

0

19

0

0

26 Travis Kvapil 93 Toyota

160

23

0

18

0

0

27 Timmy Hill 32 Ford

158

41

0

17

0

0

28 Juan Pablo Montoya 42 Chevrolet

157

19

0

16

0

0

29 Landon Cassill 40 Chevrolet

157

38

0

0

0

0

30 David Stremme 30 Toyota

151

31

0

14

0

0

31 David Reutimann 83 Toyota

141

35

0

13

0

0

32 Paul Menard 27 Chevrolet

127

21

0

12

0

0

33 AJ Allmendinger 51 Chevrolet

122

15

0

11

0

0

34 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 17 Ford

113

17

0

10

0

0

35 Danica Patrick 10 Chevrolet

110

34

0

9

0

0

36 Jeff Burton 31 Chevrolet

109

13

0

8

0

0

37 Joe Nemechek 87 Toyota

55

39

0

0

0

0

38 Tony Raines 33 Chevrolet

53

43

0

0

0

0

39 David Gilliland 38 Ford

51

37

0

5

0

0

40 Michael McDowell 98 Ford

44

27

0

4

0

0

41 Josh Wise 35 Ford

44

40

0

0

0

0

42 Alex Kennedy 19 Toyota

22

42

0

2

0

0

43 Denny Hamlin 11 Toyota

14

9

0

1

0

0

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