Kasey Kahne didn't even have to blow out the candles and make a wish on his 26th birthday cake to get the best present NASCAR could deliver: a win at Texas Motor Speedway. Kahne, who will turn 26 on Monday, grabbed his second win of the season; ...
Kasey Kahne didn't even have to blow out the candles and make a wish on his 26th birthday cake to get the best present NASCAR could deliver: a win at Texas Motor Speedway. Kahne, who will turn 26 on Monday, grabbed his second win of the season; which comes in the exact same fashion as the first.
The No. 9 Evernham Dodge team brought the same car they had in Atlanta where they also sat on the pole and went on to win the race. In fact, all three of Kahne's Cup series career wins have come from sitting on the pole position (Richmond 2005).
"The Evernham power was great," said Kahne. "The pit stop was good enough to get us out front. I knew I had to hold on for our team, and it ended up working for us. We came so close to winning at Texas a couple of years ago, and I won the Busch race last year.
"We've got momentum on our side right now. Everybody is doing a great job. Things can change. I've been on the other side of it a lot, too. I hope we can keep this momentum going. We knew this Dodge Dealers/UAW Charger team had the potential to do what we're doing. Now we've just got to keep on doing it."
An engine change forced Matt Kenseth to start at the back of the pack, but he quickly moved up to the front and battled for the lead all afternoon. In the end, the No. 17 Ford was the second best car.
"I couldn't have caught him (Kahne) at the end with eight tires, he was just too fast at the end," explained Kenseth.
The No. 20 Chevy also had to start at the back of the pack and work their way to the front of the field. Tony Stewart led a race high 99 laps but ended up third after the car fell off a little bit in the closing laps of the race.
"Awesome race for us," Stewart commented. "It was so much fun racing Kasey and I am glad he won. My congratulations to him.we had nothing for him there at the end. We put on a set of tires there trying to be a little bit tighter there and the end to run harder and ended up being freer. Couldn't stay with him and I couldn't hold off Matt Kenseth either."
Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick complete the top five.
"It was a great afternoon," said Hamlin. "The FedEx Chevrolet was great. I can't say enough for my whole crew. They got me out in front of those guys of pit road every time. Every time I came off pit road, they got me out in front of three or four guys every time which kept us in the top five all day long. I am very proud of my team."
Polesitter Kahne brought the field to the green flag but it would be Martin who led the first lap. Martin was out front until lap 12 when he was overtook by teammate Greg Biffle.
Biffle led through a series of green flag pit stops and was still out front when the first caution flag fell at lap 65 for debris. Kahne stayed out and inherited the lead but JJ Yeley quickly passed him to grab the top spot.
By lap 74, however, Kahne wheeled his way back to the lead.
Kahne was still the leader when on lap 83 Biffle took a hard hit into the wall causing the second yellow flag. The field was red flagged so NASCAR and the track could make repairs to the wall injured by Biffle's crash.
After a nine minute stop of action, the race restarted at lap 90 with the No. 9 Dodge still showing the way. On the next lap, Stewart caught Kahne and made the pass.
Stewart led when green flag pit stops commenced at lap 145, while several cars were on pit road. The leaders pitted under the third yellow with the No. 11 of Hamlin getting off pit road first.
Stewart restarted fifth.
Hamlin led until lap 159 when Kenseth made the pass for the lead. Just as Kenseth got by, the fourth caution came out for debris in turn four. The leaders pitted with Carl Edwards beating everyone off for the lead.
Kenseth got by his teammate on lap 167 to regain the lead until lap 177 when Hamlin got back by. The fifth caution came out at lap 189 when JJ Yeley took a hard hit into the wall in a single car spin.
Hamlin led through the next caution when Ryan Newman hit the wall on lap 201. The No. 11 Chevy did not pit keeping the lead. On lap 206, Hamlin and Kenseth were battling for the top spot when Edwards sailed by them both to earn the lead.
Edwards was still the leader when the seventh caution waved at lap 249 when Kyle Petty's engine blew. Kahne beat the leaders off pit road for the top position on the restart at lap 254.
The eighth yellow wagged on lap 258 when the top three car of Edwards lost control hitting Jeff Gordon's ride and subsequently smacking the inside wall. Kahne continued his charge on the restart at lap 263 but Stewart marched back to the front taking the spot.
Stewart got pressured by Kahne with 33 to go, on lap 308 Kahne was able to complete the pass and resume the lead. A debris caution, the ninth, fell bringing the leaders to pit road saving them from a green flag stop.
Kahne beat Stewart off pit road and maintained the lead with Stewart in hot pursuit with 16 laps left to settle it.
Stewart began to slip back allowing Kenseth past for second; Kahne, meanwhile, jumped out to a five second advantage on the field easily earning his first Cup series win at Texas Motor Speedway.
There were nine cautions for 43 laps and 22 lead changes among 12 drivers.
Jimmie Johnson continues to head the 2006 Nextel Cup series class. Matt Kenseth (-20), Mark Martin (-42), Kasey Kahne (-46), Tony Stewart (-92), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-115), Kyle Busch (-113), Jeff Gordon (-152), Kevin Harvick (-204) and Casey Mears (-218) complete the top five.