Kahne Wins in Rockingham Return

Kasey Kahne

Kasey Kahne celebrates the historic win in the new Victory Lane at Rockingham Speedway. (Photo: Jeff Wackerlin)

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ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - After coming so close in the past, Kasey Kahne had to wait eight years to return to Rockingham Speedway for an attempt to grab a win at the historic track. 

Kahne missed winning the final NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at the track in 2004 by .010 second to Matt Kenseth, but was able to visit Victory Lane at "The Rock" after he took the checkered flag in the inaugural Camping World Truck Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 200.

"I always have enjoyed racing at Rockingham," Kahne said. "That final one in the Cup race with Matt Kenseth was so close - my second race in Cup - and I thought about it ever since and how bad I would like to win."

With only 4.5 hours of sleep after running last night's Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway, Kahne had to start at the back of the field in the No. 4 Rockwell Tools Chevrolet for Turner Motorsports. When the green flag flew, Kahne slowly picked off trucks one-by-one before leading the final 46 laps en route to his fourth win in five career series starts.

Kasey Kahne"One thing about this place is that you can take your time early and pick them off slow and you are actually saving your tires," Kahne said. "We just had to keep working on it from there. The truck was pretty loose and Brad Sweet did a good job and the team getting it prepared. It was a little loose for my liking. We just had to keep up with the track and keep tightening the truck up."

After crossing the finish line, the crowd of 27,500 erupted in cheers as Kahne celebrated with burnouts before pulling into Rockingham's new Victory Lane.

"We had a great crowd here today," Kahne said. "It was exciting to put on a show in front of all the great fans here."

The win was the first in 134 Truck Series attempts for owner Steve Turner, who saw three of his four trucks finish seventh or better.

James BuescherJames Buescher, who participated in the Goodyear Tire test last month with Turner at Rockingham, finished second to move up two spots in the standings to fourth.

"We just didn't have enough clean air at the end and Kasey was able to pull away from us there, but it was a good 1-2 finish for Turner Motorsports," Buescher said.

Matt Crafton finished third after leading three times for 40 laps.

"I'm happy with it, but at the same time disgusted with it," Crafton said. "We fired off too good on that last run. I drove it too hard at the beginning of that run and that's when Kasey ran me down."

Crafton's teammate Johnny Sauter finished fourth with Timothy Peters rounding out the top five.

Peters, who also was part of the tire test, took the points lead with his finish.

"The tire test really helped us -- another top five," Peters said. "We'll just take this momentum into Kansas."

Joey Coulter, Nelson Piquet Jr., Ty Dillon, Parker Kligerman and Justin Lofton completed the top 10.

Nelson Piquet Jr.Piquet led a race-high 107 laps from the pole, but a speeding penalty while exiting the pits on lap 176 ultimately took him out of contention.

"I was trying to recover a position in a pit stop after I lost the lead, and I think I pushed it too much over my limits and went over the speed limit," Piquet Jr. said. "It happens. This is the first time I go over the speed, but it's learning. Next time, I'll try to be a bit more careful."

Peters' Red Horse Racing teammate John King lost the championship lead, dropping seven spots, after he was involved in a lap 5 accident on the backstretch.

"Being a rookie at Rockingham, it took us a little time to get caught up where we needed to be," King said. "That put us behind in getting our set-up right. "At the start of the race I got loose off Turn 2 and hit the inside wall."

Jason Leffler, who started fourth, also had troubles early when his No. 18 Toyota experienced an engine issue.

“The guys worked hard and we just had a really, really good truck,” said Leffler, who finished 34th. “But 10 laps into it, we're sitting here and going home early. We can't have that."

Track President Andy Hillenburg, who purchased the speedway back in 2007, was pleased with the way his first NASCAR race went.

"I'm very pleased with the crowd we had here today," Hillenburg said. "As a promoter I still want to go and I want to do better. I'm very proud of our effort. I feel like we did the best we could do based on the knowledge that we had. But, I also feel confident in saying that if we get a second chance from NASCAR I can do even better."

Rockingham Speedway

Photos: Jeff Wackerlin

Race Center

Lucas Oil 200

@ Dover Int'l Speedway
Friday, May 29, 2015
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