Kasey Kahne can now sit at the table of those who have put a notch on Rick Hendrick’s belt as he easily cruised to his first victory of the season and with his new team at Hendrick Motor Sports at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the running of the Coca Cola 600. This marks the 201st win for HMS.
Kahne, who was not dominating the entire evening, did have a strong car throughout the marathon race. He proved to have a more consistent car than Greg Biffle who led the most laps, 204, but didn’t have anything left to vie for the win.
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch finished second and third respectively but still had nothing to throw at Kahne that put them in close contention at the end. Kahne beat Hamlin to the finish line by 4.295 seconds.
Biffle had to settle for fourth. Brad Keselowski brought home fifth.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. showed another consistent run that paid off with a sixth place finish. His teammate Jeff Gordon had his best finish in five races with seventh. Kevin Harvick was eigth. Carl Edwards was ninth and his teammate Matt Kenseth sewed up tenth as the first car a lap down.
Five- time Sprint Cup champion and the man who gave HMS its 200th win at Darlington before the All Star break struggled late in the race with a terrible pit stop. A miscommunication of some sort led to Johnson dragging a fuel can out of his pit. This resulted in a stop and go penalty under green putting Johnson a lap down. Johnson finished 11th.
Roush-Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle still has the points lead by a slim ten point margin over his teammate Matt Kenseth, both men still in their same positions on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Points leaderboard. Denny Hamlin, who has been steadily climbing, bumped up one spot to occupy third. Dale Earnhardt Jr. fell one place to fourth. Jimmie Johnson stayed put at fifth.
Martin Truex Jr.’s 12th place finish in the race was good enough to keep him solidly in sixth another week. Kevin Harvick moved up one to seventh. Kyle Busch bettered his position by one to take eighth. Tony Stewart was struggling the entire night with various situations and brought home 25th three laps down on Sunday night, fell two positions to ninth. Carl Edwards held firm at tenth.
The running of the Coca Cola 600 ended a long day of entertaining and exhilarating racing that saw Mark Webber of Australia win his second Grand Prix of Monaco in Formula 1, Dario Franchitti win his third Indianapolis 500 in IndyCar, and Kasey Kahne win his third Coca Cola 600 in NASCAR Sprint Cup.
After a couple of weeks of fanfare, All Star events, and Coca Cola 600 and Memorial Day special programming, the NASCAR drivers once again settle down into their series with a stop at Dover International Speedway.
The FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks will be run on Sunday, June 3rd. Coverage will begin at 12:30pm on Fox.
Please stay tuned for the race and then return here for the FedEx 400 benefitting Autism Speaks here for my race recap.
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