Kahne defeats Gordon at Pocono

Kahne defeats Gordon at Pocono

Cup Series

Kahne defeats Gordon at Pocono

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Kasey Kahne defeated Hendrick teammate Jeff Gordon in a late battle for NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Pocono.

Kahne had taken charge of the final stages of the race and was leading Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr in an increasingly spread-out all-Hendrick top three when a debris caution with 12 laps to go erased his seven second lead. Gordon pounced at the restart and managed to inch ahead of Kahne after a long side-by-side battle.

The four-time champion seemed to be pulling sufficiently clear to take his first win of 2013, but another caution when Matt Kenseth spun set up a green-white-checkered finish.

Kahne initially made a bad getaway, but then carried huge speed down the outside into Turn 1 and made it back into the lead by Turn 2. He then broke clear to win by 1.3 seconds over Gordon.

“On that final restart, I spun my tires a little bit and he (Gordon) got a great jump, and Kurt pushed me all the way to Turn 1, which really helped,” Kahne said. “I had one opportunity to either go for it and make it work or not. As good as our (car) was all day long, I thought we could make that work on the outside.

“I just needed to clear him, and when we got to Turn 2, I was able to do that. It was a great race. We had a really fast car. (Crew chief) Kenny (Francis) called an awesome race, and the whole pit crew did a perfect job We needed this one to get in the Chase — we were able to get it, and it feels really good.” 

Kurt Busch was a front-runner all day and claimed third for Furniture Row, ahead of Indianapolis winner Ryan Newman and Earnhardt.

Hendrick’s dominant championship leader Jimmie Johnson had a rare bad day. He led most of the first half of the race, until a right-front tire blow sent him sliding into the wall. Progress was slow in his repaired Chevrolet, but he ultimately recovered to 13th.

Champion Brad Keselowski had his strongest race in a while and was fighting with Kahne and the Busch brothers up front for a spell. Choosing to take four tires when rivals took two at a mid-race pit stop dropped him out of contention, as he found himself 15th and unable to regain much ground. He salvaged sixth at the flag, having got back in the hunt by only changing two tires at the final stops.

The race featured plenty of incident. Denny Hamlin was among the other drivers to have solo crashes, while Juan Pablo Montoya and Ricky Stenhouse Jr tangled at the first corner of the race and Danica Patrick later triggered another multi-car shunt with a mid-pack spin.

Results - 160 laps:Pos  Driver              Team/Car                         Time/Gap 1.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet           3h06m02.000s 2.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet                +1.392s 3.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet           +1.948s 4.  Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet            +2.425s 5.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet                +2.747s 6.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                       +2.987s 7.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                       +3.175s 8.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota                  +4.191s 9.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet            +4.364s10.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford                 +4.774s11.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford                 +4.930s12.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                        +5.234s13.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet                +5.582s14.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota                    +5.592s15.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota                    +5.713s16.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet       +6.080s17.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet               +6.200s18.  Mark Martin         Waltrip Toyota                    +6.506s19.  Bobby Labonte       JTG Daugherty Toyota              +6.746s20.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                        +7.064s21.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford                    +7.380s22.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota                  +7.459s23.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet                 +7.636s24.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                      +7.825s25.  JJ Yeley            Baldwin Chevrolet                 +8.641s26.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                        +23.806s27.  Timmy Hill          FAS Lane Ford                     +2 laps28.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet       +3 laps29.  Landon Cassill      Circle Sport Chevrolet            +3 lapsRetirements:     David Stremme       Swan Toyota                      151 laps     David Reutimann     BK Toyota                        141 laps     Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet              127 laps     AJ Allmendinger     Phoenix Chevrolet                122 laps     Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford                113 laps     Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           110 laps     Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet              109 laps     Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                      55 laps     Tony Raines         Circle Sport Chevrolet            53 laps     David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                    51 laps     Michael McDowell    Parsons Ford                      44 laps     Josh Wise           Front Row Ford                    44 laps     Alex Kennedy        Humphrey Smith Toyota             22 laps     Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota                  14 laps

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