Kahne grabs win at Atlanta

Kasey Kahne scored the win at the rain delayed Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kahne grabbed the lead on lap 247 and easily held of the competition to earn his second career NASCAR Nextel Cup series win. It is Kahne's first win of...

Kasey Kahne scored the win at the rain delayed Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kahne grabbed the lead on lap 247 and easily held of the competition to earn his second career NASCAR Nextel Cup series win.

It is Kahne's first win of the year and the first for Dodge at AMS since Richard Petty won in 1977. Kahne also becomes the first driver to win this race from the pole since Buddy Baker in 1979.

"This is unbelievable," said Kahne. "These guys did a great job all day long. To win at Atlanta which is won of my favorite race tracks is really cool. This has been working so well, so far. Everyone is doing a great job; we have a lot of momentum."

Mark Martin attempted a late race move for the lead but couldn't get around the No. 9 Evernham Dodge. He settled for second, which is his third top-10 of the season.

"We ran him down and he got a handful of steering wheel and found some more speed," explained Martin. "I thought we could get him there with 15 ago and we caught him there in traffic. But he got up on the wheel and got it done."

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was third. It is Earnhardt's first top five of the year.

"We were real good on long runs," said Earnhardt. "I didn't think we had anything for the two guys in front of us. We had a tough day, we had a flat tire early and fell a lap down but we were able to get the lucky dog and come back and finish third."

Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart complete the top five.

After a day delay for inclement weather, the Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway finally got underway Monday morning in front of a smattering of fans. Kahne led the field to the green flag but it was outside pole sitter Ryan Newman who would lead the first lap.

On lap three, Bobby Labonte wheeled the No. 43 Dodge past Newman for the lead. Labonte was still leading when the first caution flag waved at lap 16 for a spin by Newman after contact with the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin.

Kahne beat Labonte out of the pits to regain the lead but Biffle sped by grabbing the top spot. Biffle was leading when the second caution came out on lap 42 when Kyle Busch had a left front flat tire and could not get down from the high-side into the pits.

The caution gave Newman (who was 2 laps down) one lap back and brought the leaders to pit road. During the stops, the No. 99 Ford of Carl Edwards and the No. 22 of Dave Blaney made contact on pit road. Edwards fell to 36th on the restart and Blaney to 37th.

Kurt Busch beat everyone off pit road followed by Hamlin and Kahne. High hopes washed down the drain for Labonte at lap 56 when his motor broke. The events third caution emerged on lap 68 when Edwards cut a tire leaving debris on the track. Just as the yellow was coming out, Hamlin passed Busch for the lead.

Hamlin led on the restart and led until lap 81 when Biffle swiped the lead. Biffle and the No. 16 team were still leading when the fourth caution fell at lap 117 when Jeremy Mayfield hit the wall.

The No. 20 of Tony Stewart beat the field off pit road to take the lead on the restart at lap 125. On that restart, Kurt Busch, David Stremme and Kevin Harvick made contact. Everyone was able to avoid a wreck, but it caused a tire failure on the No. 29 Chevy forcing them to pit under green.

Stremme and Busch were able to continue on.

Stewart and teammate Hamlin swapped the lead a few times before Stewart settled in out front. He was still leading on lap 164 when a debris caution, the day's fifth waved. The leaders pitted with Stewart once again in the lead at the restart on lap 169.

Biffle passed him a few laps later.

The No. 16 Ford was leading when the sixth caution came out which was caused by the No. 14 of Sterling Marlin blowing a tire. Under the ensuing pit stops, Reed Sorenson clipped the catch can man on Robby Gordon's car, Josh Lusher; he was treated and released from the infield care center.

Stewart led at the restart and was still out front at the seventh which was caution caused by Clint Bowyer spinning on lap 220. Biffle was the quickest car off pit road earning the lead.

Biffle led until lap 247 when he started to complain of a possible tire failure giving up the lead to Kahne. He was still leading when the eighth caution fell at lap 263 for debris. After stops, Kahne remained the race leader followed by Kenseth and Mark Martin.

In the end, no one had anything for Kahne who wheeled the No. 9 Evernham Dodge to Victory Lane.

Notably, Bill Lester, the first African-American to make a Cup start in 20 years, finished six laps down in 38th.

"It was really cool to be out there with the best drivers in the country," Lester commented. "I am embarrassed to be up here sitting next to Dale (Earnhardt) and Mark (Martin). I can't wait for the day when I am up here because I deserve to be, the day when racing is not about race."

Jimmie Johnson remains at the top of the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup series class. Kasey Kahne (-50), Matt Kenseth (-78), Mark Martin (-90), Casey Mears (-136), Jeff Gordon (-151), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (-156), Kyle Busch (- 160), Dale Jarrett (-200) and Clint Bowyer (-219) complete the top ten.

There were eight cautions for 43 laps and 12 lead changes among 27 drivers.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Gordon , Dale Jarrett , Matt Kenseth , Bobby Labonte , Jeremy Mayfield , Tony Stewart , Kevin Harvick , Sterling Marlin , Robby Gordon , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Jimmie Johnson , Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne , Bill Lester , Carl Edwards , David Stremme , Clint Bowyer , Denny Hamlin , Reed Sorenson , Dave Blaney , Buddy Baker , Kyle Busch , Mark Martin