Kahne Scores Solid Second-Place Finish For KBM at Pocono
Toyota of Scranton Driver Leads Late, But Finishes Runner-Up to Sprint Cup Teammate Sadler
Kasey Kahne led late, but had to settle for second in Saturday's inaugural Pocono Mountains 125 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway.
The driver of the No. 18 Toyota of Scranton (Pa.) Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) led twice for 17 laps, but finished .445 of a second behind Elliott Sadler, who drove for Kevin Harvick Inc. Kahne and Sadler are teammates at Richard Petty Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
"I had a really good Toyota truck and have to thank Kyle Busch (team owner) for letting me drive it," said Kahne, who had won in both his previous Truck Series starts. "It was a lot of fun. It was between the 2 (Sadler) and the 18 as far as speed and I just got in the wrong spot there at the end and didn't race Elliott. I should have been there. It should have been a close finish there."
Kahne was in the top-three for much of the first half of the race and took the lead from laps 21-32. During Kahne's first stint at the point, a caution came out on lap 27 for Bobby Hamliton Jr.'s accident in turn three and nearly all of the field came to pit road for what would be the only stop of the day. Quick work by the KBM crew changing four tires, adding fuel and making a track-bar adjustment kept Kahne in first place when he exited pit road.
Unfortunately, the lead didn't last long as shortly after the restart on lap 32, Kahne fell back to fourth. The No. 18 Toyota stayed in the top-five for the remainder of the race and Kahne took the lead again on lap 45 after passing Denny Hamlin on a restart following a caution.
A caution on lap 47 due to a two-truck accident involving Donny Lia and Chase Mattioli meant that the race would end under a green-white-checkered finish, with Kahne leading the pack to the green flag.
"It's just about when you get in position," Kahne said. "When I restarted in the front, (Aric) Almirola, as soon as we got past the start-finish line, he pulled out and got on my left rear so that just parked both those lanes and like five trucks went by us, so then I'm back to sixth. So I drive back to fourth or whatever so it was just positioning and where you're at on the track because the draft is so huge and if you get stalled out, the trucks that are drafting are going to smoke you.
"It's like (Matt) Crafton was saying about being 11th and he could just come right through that. If there are two trucks up there and you can kind of see them, you can suck up to them in a heartbeat so it's kind of just where you're at on the track and once I got stalled out, we lost position and never got back to be close enough to Elliott (Sadler). We had a legitimate shot at racing with Elliott, we had done it throughout the race."
After the final caution on lap 51 due to Ron Hornaday's Jr.'s accident in turn two, Kahne restarted in the fourth spot for the second attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, and managed to gain two spots, but did not have enough to get by Sadler in the final two-lap shootout.
"It was really cool and I really enjoyed it," Kahne said. "Hopefully the trucks come back next year and race more laps. I think this race should be a little bit longer and that would even make it better. I want to thank Kyle Busch and his whole team -- he has a really good team -- strong team, strong trucks and a lot of fun to drive. I just didn't get it done today. I felt like we had the truck to beat. Elliott (Sadler) was really quick, he did a good job and won the race, but I felt like we should have been there and just didn't get it done."
The victory was Sadler's first in the Camping World Truck Series and came in his eighth career start. Kahne, Matt Crafton, Almirola and rookie James Lofton took spots three through five. The rest of the top-10 consisted of Mike Skinner, rookie Austin Dillion, Timothy Peters, Hamlin and Jason White.
The race featured six caution periods for 18 laps, with eight drivers failing to finish the 55-lap race, which was extended five laps past its scheduled distance due to the two attempts at a green-white-checkered finish.
While Kahne is not running the full Camping World Truck Series schedule, the No. 18 Toyota is competing for the owner's title and remained second in the standings, just two points behind the No. 2 truck of Kevin Harvick Inc.
The next event on the Camping World Truck Series schedule is the Aug. 7 Nashville 200 at Nashville Superspeedway in Lebanon, Tenn.
-source: kbm -KBM-