Kahne Clinches with Atlanta Win

Kasey Kahne

Kahne became the season’s 13th different winner. (Photo: Getty Images)

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Race Results

Kasey Kahne won his first race of the season and grabbed a spot in the Chase Sunday night in the Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kahne had to fight back in the second overtime finish and pass Matt Kenseth to go on and score his 17th career victory and first since Pocono in August of 2013.

It was Kahne’s third career Atlanta victory.

“Yeah, man, it took a lot,” said Kahne. “We were all over the place during the race but the guys stayed with me and worked hard. On those restarts - I didn’t know what would happen because I had great restarts all night and I struggle with restarts a lot. That’s big, because that is one of the things you have to be good at and it worked really well tonight.”

Kahne became the season’s 13th different winner and was relieved to secure his Chase spot with the victory.

“Yeah, we are locked in and I hate it comes down to this Atlanta or Richmond just about every year for me,” said Kahne. “Sometimes we are in, sometimes we are out. But thankful that now at HMS I have been in all three years now.”

Kenseth, Denny Hamlin, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five.

“Those last two laps were really intense,” Kenseth said. “Things are looking up. I’m looking forward to the next 11.”

Kenseth’s Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Hamlin was in the hunt for the win during the night but forced to settle for third.

“I couldn’t capitalize, couldn’t get the restarts and couldn’t accelerate,” Hamlin said. “We just came up short. Third is about the place car we had tonight.”

Danica Patrick, Ryan Newman, Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola and Greg Biffle completed the first ten finishers.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series winds up the regular season next Saturday night with the Federated Auto Parts 400 at Richmond Int’l Raceway.

How Kahne won: He powered his way past Matt Kenseth during a second green-white-checkered restart and held on for the win. Kahne earlier had what appeared to be a comfortable advantage and looked like he would cruise to Victory Lane but a caution for Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. tangling erased the lead. Fortunately for the Hendrick Motorsports driver he was able to get back to the front when it counted again.

What else happened: Harvick was the dominant car of the night and led 195 laps. He appeared to have a sweep of Atlanta in hand after his Saturday night Nationwide Series win. But a late race turn of events that included a couple of cautions and G-W-C finishes proved to be Harvick’s undoing, who finally got sucked into a multi-car wreck and finished 19th.

Who else had a good day: Kahne and Kenseth secured Chase spots with their finishes Sunday night leaving only two spots left in the 16-driver field…Kenseth’s runner-up finish was his best performance of the season….Sixth-place Danica Patrick scored her career-best Sprint Cup finish.

Who had a bad day: Kevin Harvick dominated the race but got shuffled back in a pair of late race restarts and finally was swept up in a crash at the second green-white-checkered attempt…..Tony Stewart started the weekend with an emotional press conference Friday afternoon as he returned to the track after a three week absence in the aftermath of the sprint car accident that took the life of Kevin Ward Jr. After a strong qualifying effort and start to the race Stewart made an early exit after a pair of trips into the wall the second of which sending him to the garage area with a DNF…Clint Bowyer’s Chase hopes took a hit when he broke a shifter and had transmission problems early on….Jeff Gordon was knocked out of contention early when a cut tire sent him into the wall with damage…Marcos Ambrose blew an engine and was out of the race on lap 90.

Quote of the night: "Whoa, I almost hit a cat. A cat just ran right in front of me,'' Kevin Harvick, but it was actually a squirrel.

Notables: Third-place Hamlin has finished in the top-10 in six of his last eight races….Johnson has turned around his fortunes with three consecutive top-10 performances….Ty Dillon made his Sprint Cup Series debut with a 25th-place finish.

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