Kahne gets jump, prevails in Food City 500 in Tenn.
By SETH LIVINGSTONE Special to NASCAR News Service
BRISTOL, Tenn. - After dueling door-to-door with Brad Keselowski, Kasey Kahne got the jump on the final restart and went on to post his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Bristol Motor Speedway in Sunday's Food City 500.
"I don't think I had anything for Kasey. I'm not sure anyone did," said Kyle Busch, who finished second after dominating much of the weekend. Keselowski, the defending race winner, finished third.
Kahne, who had finished no better than fifth in any of his previous 10 Cup races at Bristol, assumed the lead after his Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson blew a tire, bringing out the race's 10th caution.
Busch, who had won the pole in track record time on Friday, posted the fastest laps in both of Saturday's practice sessions, then won Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series event, led the first 55 laps before pit road speeding violation under caution shuffled him back to 32nd. He was undaunted in his recovery, battling his way back to 16th in the next 40 laps. He was second to Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin on Lap 155 after the race's fourth caution.
Hamlin led 117 of the first 189 laps before surrendering the lead in the pits to teammate Matt Kenseth.
Joey Logano, who started 10th, had been making steady progress and was challenging leader Jeff Gordon on Lap 348 when Hamlin, his former JGR teammate sent him spinning into the outer wall. That led to a post-race exchange between Logano and Hamlin.
Asked if he and Hamlin had a problem, Logano replied: "If we didn't we do now."
A crash on Lap 391 of 500 took out race leaders Gordon and Kenseth.
Gordon climbed the track with a right-front tire going down and Kenseth had nowhere to go, slamming into the rear of Gordon, totally demolishing the front end of his JGR Toyota.
"Not a lot either one of us could do about that," Kenseth said.
Keselowski's third-place finish vaulted him to the lead in the Sprint cup point standings, nine points ahead of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished sixth after qualifying 32nd. Kurt Busch finished fourth (his best finish for Furniture Row Racing) and Clint Bowyer was fifth.
Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 53 Mins, 25 Secs. Margin of Victory: 1.700 Seconds.
Caution Flags: 10 for 66 laps.
Lead Changes: 17 among 10 drivers.
Lap Leaders: Kyle Busch 1-55; P. Menard 56; D. Ragan 57-58; K. Kahne 59-63; D. Hamlin 64-145; K. Kahne 146-153; Kurt Busch 154; D. Hamlin 155-189; K. Kahne 190-236; Kyle Busch 237; M. Kenseth 238-322; J. Logano 323; J. Gordon 324-389; K. Kahne 390-396; B. Keselowski 397-445; K. Kahne 446-447; B. Keselowski 448-460; K. Kahne 461-500.
Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): D. Hamlin 2 times for 117 laps; K. Kahne 6 times for 109 laps; M. Kenseth 1 time for 85 laps; J. Gordon 1 time for 66 laps; B. Keselowski 2 times for 62 laps; Kyle Busch 2 times for 56 laps; D. Ragan 1 time for 2 laps; P. Menard 1 time for 1 lap; J. Logano 1 time for 1 lap; Kurt Busch 1 time for 1 lap.
Top 12 in Points: Brad Keselowski - 166; D. Earnhardt Jr. - 157; J. Johnson - 151; C. Bowyer - 128; G. Biffle - 126; D. Hamlin - 125; K. Kahne - 124; C. Edwards - 124; P. Menard - 118; Kyle Busch - 115; R. Stenhouse Jr. - 115; J. Logano - 104.