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NASCAR News


Kahne claims win at PIR




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Disclaimer:
Amanda Vincent is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.

November 14, 2011 | 1,469 views | Post a comment

With his stint at Red Bull Racing coming to a close, Kasey Kahne drove the organization’s No. 4 car into victory lane at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday after winning the Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.


“It feels so good,” Kahne said. “It’s been a long time coming. It was a great run today.”


The win was Kahne’s first at the Sprint Cup level since September 2009. It was the 11th win for the driver-crew chief duo of Kahne and Kenny Francis, who will both leave Red Bull for Hendrick Motorsports at season’s end.


“This is unbelievable,” Frances aid. “I couldn’t be prouder of everyone at the shop. This is probably the biggest win for me, ever.”


Kahne was followed across the start/finish line on the final lap by the only two drivers still in contention for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series title -- Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart. Edwards finished in the runner-up spot and Stewart was third. The points differential remained at three, as Stewart earned a bonus point for most laps led by leading 160 circuits of the 312-lap race that cancelled out Edwards’ one additional point for finishing the race one spot better. They cancelled out each other’s lap led bonus points, as both drivers spent time at the front of the field.


“He’s a pretty good driver,” Edwards said of Stewart after the race. “That was a lot of fun.”


Jeff Burton finished fourth. Ryan Newman rounded out the top-five and was the only Chase driver aside from Stewart and Edwards to finish in the top-10.


Matt Kenseth started on the pole and led the way until Stewart assumed the lead on lap 36. Kenseth retook the lead from Stewart a couple of different times on pit road, but each time, Stewart quickly reassumed the top spot on the following restart.


Edwards made his way toward the front to race with Stewart and Kenseth by gaining four positions to restart third following a competition caution that came out on lap 40. Kenseth wound up falling out of contention for the race win, though, on lap 177 when he received contact from the No. 83 car of Brian Vickers that sent Kenseth into the wall. After a lengthy stay in the garage, Kenseth did come back out on the track later to make laps.


Stewart and Edwards lost the first two positions to pit strategy during a caution with 94 laps to go when Kurt Busch and Paul Menard opted to change only two tires while the leaders each changed four. Menard dropped back several positions after the restart, but Busch maintained the lead.


Busch led the way until he ran out of fuel with 33 laps to go, handing the lead to Edwards. The rest of the race field soon cycled through green flag pit stops, and the cycle completed with Kahne in the lead and Edwards in second. Stewart was fourth after the cycle of stops but was able to get by Jeff Gordon late in the race for the third position.
 
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