Darlington Raceway 200
Kahne’s Strong Finish In Darlington Nets Three Post-Race Awards
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – For the second consecutive week, the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota piloted by Kasey Kahne nabbed a top-five finish, collecting three post-race contingency awards at Darlington Raceway on Saturday night.
Kahne, who started the weekend by claiming his first Coors Light Pole Award of the season, proceeded to lead a race high 124 laps during the SHOWTIME Southern 500. Always near the front, the No. 4 Toyota led 53 of the final 88 laps before being passed by eventual winner Regan Smith with 11 laps remaining.
Kahne’s team also claimed the American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award, which goes to the eligible driver who records the fastest average speed on restarts and finishes the race on the lead lap, and the Mobil 1 Driver of the Race Award.
The No. 4 team recovered from a scrape with the infamous Darlington wall on Lap 92 and worked on the car and used strong pit stops to keep the team in contention.
Kahne used strong restarts during a race that included 11 caution flags to continuously stay at the front of the field during the race. After a two-tire stop, Kahne restarted fifth for the green-white-checkered finish and was able to get by Tony Stewart and held off a charging Ryan Newman for the fourth spot.
The awards are part of the NASCAR Prize Money and Decal Program, also referred to as the contingency program, which provides teams prize money and weekly awards based on performance in several categories.
“I hit the wall once and I hit it really hard so I screwed up the right side and we had to work on it after that,” said Kahne after the race. “The guys did a good job of keeping me upfront with pit stops and kept working on the car to make it as good as we could.I’m a little disappointed with fourth, disappointed with myself, but other than that the Red Bull team was awesome. The car was great. Qualifying first helped a ton tonight– having that first pit stall tonight.”
Also of note this week, Bob Osborne, crew chief of the No. 99 Aflac Ford driven by Carl Edwards. claimed his third DIRECTV Crew Chief of the Race Award of the season.
With the fourth in Darlington and a third-place finish in Richmond a week earlier, Kahne has moved three spots up to 15th place in the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points standings heading into the FedEx 400 benefiting Autism Speaks on Sun., May 15th at Dover International Speedway (1 p.m. EST, FOX).
Official winners of this week’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Prize Money & Decal Program special awards include:
· AMERICAN ETHANOL GREEN FLAG RESTART: Kasey Kahne
· COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD: Kasey Kahne (181.254 mph. 27.131 secs.)
· DIRECTV CREW CHIEF OF THE RACE AWARD: Bob Osborne (crew chief for Carl Edwards)
· GOODYEAR GATORBACK BELTS FASTEST LAP AWARD: Kevin Harvick (173.161 mph, Lap 246)
· MAHLE CLEVITE ENGINE BUILDER OF THE RACE AWARD: Hendrick Motorsports, No. 39
· MOBIL 1 OIL DRIVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Kasey Kahne
· MOOG CHASSIS PARTS PROBLEM SOLVER OF THE RACE AWARD: Greg Erwin (crew chief for Greg Biffle, 0.006 secs.)
· O’REILLY AUTO PARTS POSITION IMPROVEMENT AWARD: Dave Blaney (17 places)