Kahne claims first win at Bristol
Bristol, TN – Kasey Kahne benefited from Brad Keselowski's mishap on a late-race restart to win Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Keselowski, the defending Sprint Cup Series champion and last year's winner of the spring race at Bristol, held the lead for a restart with 40 laps to go, but Keselowski spun his tires, allowing Kahne to drive past him for the top position.
Kahne then held off pole sitter Kyle Busch in the closing laps to win at Bristol for the first time in 19 starts. He also captured his 15th career Sprint Cup victory but his first since July 2012 at New Hampshire (20 races ago). One week ago at Las Vegas, Kahne finished second to Matt Kenseth after leading a race-high 114 laps.
"This is a big win," Kahne said. "This whole team has been flawless today, last week and this whole season so far. It's been a lot of fun."
Kahne has struggled at Bristol in the past, finishing outside the top-20 in seven races, including a 37th-place finish one year ago.
"This is a tough place," he said. "It's been a tough track for me at times."
Busch bounced back from a speeding penalty on pit road early in the race. He crossed the finish line 1.7 seconds behind Kahne. Busch has five Sprint Cup victories at this track. He also claimed his fifth Nationwide win here on Saturday.
"I need to stop getting penalties and stay up front all day," Busch said. "We're trying to take too much on pit road, and it's not working for us, so we just need to back off."
Keselowski wound up finishing third, while Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five.
"I don't think I had anything for Kasey," Keselowski said. "I don't know if anyone did. He was good through the middle, really everywhere, in a league of his own. I'd be damned if it was going to keep me from trying."
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Ryan Newman, Brian Vickers, Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray finished sixth through 10th, respectively.
The 500-lap race at this 0.533-mile, high-banked oval featured numerous wrecks and a heated argument between two drivers after it had concluded.
Denny Hamlin hit former Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Joey Logano from behind and spun him out on lap 348. Logano was challenging Jeff Gordon for the lead when the incident occurred. Logano finished 17th, while Hamlin dealt with an ill- handling car and made contact with the wall several times during the final laps to place 23rd, two laps off of the pace.
Hamlin led the most laps with 117.
After the race, Logano approached Hamlin, who was still in his car, to voice his displeasure over the incident. Several of Hamlin's crew members had to restrain Logano from any further altercation in the garage area.
"I meant to run into (Logano) but didn't mean to spin him out," Hamlin admitted. "He still had a bad day, anyway, for whatever reason. I finished bad, and he finished bad. It's even."
Logano left JGR and joined Penske Racing at the conclusion of the 2012 season.
"It's frustrating," Logano said. "It's Bristol, but it's ridiculous. I feel like I race (Hamlin) clean all of the time. I guess that's the way he races. He's not my teammate anymore. I will race him the same way then."
The race featured 10 cautions, all of them for accidents. The most notable wreck happened on lap 390 when Kenseth plowed into the back of Gordon after Gordon blew his right-front tire and hit the outside wall. Both drivers were running in the top-two at the time.
"I really hate that we collected Matt Kenseth," Gordon said. "He had a great car."
Kenseth led 85 laps and Gordon ran in front for 66 laps before their crash.
"There wasn't a lot any one of us could have done about that," Kenseth said. "There was just nowhere to go."
Danica Patrick finished five laps down in 28th after starting 41st. Patrick struggled in Friday's qualifying session at Bristol and had to take a provisional starting spot for this race.
Keselowski moved atop the point standings following his fourth consecutive top-five run. Jimmie Johnson came into this race with the points lead, but Johnson finished 22nd after he cut a tire and hit the wall with less than 50 laps to go. Earnhardt Jr. trails Keselowski by nine points, while Johnson fell 15 markers behind.