Kenseth Solid At The Rock

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ROCKINGHAM, N.C. - Matt Kesneth edged Kasey Kahne in a photo finish to win Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Subway 400 at North Carolina Speedway.

Kenseth's Roush Racing DeWalt Tools Ford beat Kahne's Evernham Motorsports Dodge by inches for the win, the eighth of the defending NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion's career. It was Kenseth's second career Cup win at North Carolina Speedway.

"It was stressful," Kenseth said. "I was doing everything I could not to lose this race after running out front all day. I was loose off Turn 4 and Kasey got a good charge on me. It was a close one."

Kenseth dominated the race and led 259 of the 393 lap chase. But after the final caution flag of the day, which came on lap 351 when Robbie Gordon crashed hard on the backstretch and flipped his Cingular Wireless Chevy in the process, Kenseth was forced to fight off the hard-charging Kahne. The rookie pulled to the inside of Kenseth as the duo raced through the fourth turn and came up just short of his first career win.

"I was doing all that I could," Kahne said, who was behind the wheel of the same No. 9 Dodge that Bill Elliott drove to victory in last November's Rockingham race. "I just about got there."

Kenseth and Kahne actually caught a break on the final stop, as they were both on pit road when the caution for Gordon's crash flew. Because the field is frozen as soon as a yellow comes out, NASCAR allowed the duo to maintain the first and second positions on the race track, rather than placing them at the tail end of the lead lap.

Jamie McMurray followed the front duo to the checkered flag in third with Sterling Marlin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. rounding out the Top 5.

Polesitter Ryan Newman, Rusty Wallace, Kurt Busch, Ward Burton and Jeff Gordon completed the first ten finishers.

The race was slowed six times for caution including two incidents that saw cars flip on the backstretch. Gordon rolled after making contact with the outside retaining wall on lap 351. He was uninjured in the accident. Earlier Carl Long rolled his Dodge five times after first making contact with Joe Nemechek and Brendan Gaughan then the outside wall. Long also climbed from his car without injuries.

"We were racing along and someone must have got into me, because next thing I knew, I seen the people up there in the back straightaway in the bleachers up there eating chicken," Long said. "You can't pay $2 at the state fair to ride something like that."

The Nextel Cup Series will take a week off before heading to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the UAW-DaimlerChrysler 400 on March 7.

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