Kahne Sweeps Lowes
October 14, 2006 | 11:04 P.M. EST
The victory marked Kahne's sixth of the season and first in a chassis other that No. 128, the car that won all of his previous races.
“Our blue Mopar paint scheme paid off this year. We’ve run really strong with it the last two years, this year it paid off and won the race,” said Kahne, who previously finished 23rd or worse at LMS in the fall race.
Johnson’s second-place finish was his eighth straight top-three finish at LMS, and first top five since winning the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard back in August.
“I only made up ten points. But ten points is ten points. We finished the race where we ran all day long, which is important,” Johnson said.
With the smaller fuel cell and hard Goodyear tire some drivers, including Johnson, were looking for longer runs.
“It was hard to race and see what cars had what. It was all about the short runs,” Johnson said.
Jeff Burton battled a vibration in the closing laps to finish third and to increase his championship lead to 45 points over Matt Kenseth.
“It shook bad enough where it scared me,” Burton said. “I screamed, ‘We’ve got a wheel loose, we got a wheel loose’ and they said, we do not have a wheel loose, we know we got them tight. I was glad the race ended because I mean it was vibrating hard,” Burton said.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Bobby Labonte rounded out the top five.
Kyle Busch came back from a pit road speeding penalty on lap 78 to finish sixth.
"I screwed up this week, I can't ever get on pit road or off pit road," Busch said. "It is very frustrating to keep doing that and letting these guys down for as hard as they work."
In his first race with crew chief Brandon Thomas, Tony Raines finished seventh marking his first top 10 since joining the Hall of Fame Racing Team at the beginning of the season.
"It was just a really, really good night," said Raines, who led 28 laps. "What made it extra special was it being in Charlotte in front of all of our family and friend."
Carl Edwards, Joe Nemechek and Brian Vickers completed the top 10.
Mark Martin, who at times was in the championship lead during the race, took a hit in the points after a hard trip into the wall after making contact with J.J. Yeley, who was coming down to pit, on lap 242.
“I was coming so fast, he probably didn’t even know that I was coming,” Martin said. “I was there when he went to pit, I had no idea. I want to thank Humpy (Wheeler) and Bruton Smith and God for the soft walls. I’m having fun.”
Martin’s 30th-place finish dropped him to fourth in the standings - 102 points out.
“The championship is not really something that was meant for me ever, probably isn’t this year and it’s not going to get me down,” Martin said.
Kevin Harvick is now third (-89) in the standings while Earnhardt Jr. moved into fifth (-106).
Jeff Gordon fell to 10th in the standings after losing an engine late in the race.
"It's just not meant to be," Gordon said. "We are happy to make the Chase, from here on out we try to win races."
The “Chase for the Championship” now heads to Martinsville Speedway on October 22.