Kahne becomes first polesitter to win at Texas
The Associated Press
FORT WORTH, Texas ' Kasey Kahne became the 11th different winner in as many Nextel Cup races held at Texas Motor Speedway, yet he still managed to score a first here ' by doing it from the pole.
Kahne sped way from the field after the final restart with 17 laps to go for his second victory this season, by 5.2 seconds over Matt Kenseth. He won in the same No. 9 Evernham Dodge from the pole in Atlanta last month.
After taking the lead from Tony Stewart with 27 laps to go, Kahne built a 1.4-second cushion over Stewart and Kenseth before a caution flag for debris on the track. All three cars took four tires on the pit stop and came out in the same order they went in.
The car got loose at the start. It took us a while to get going, Kahne said. It was a heck of a run with Tony there.
— It took Kahne a couple of laps after the restart to finally clear the lapped car of Robby Gordon. Once he did, he cruised to the checkered flag at the Samsung/RadioShack 500 and Kenseth got past Stewart, who led 99 laps after winning last weekend at Martinsville, for second place.
Kahne, who turns 26 on Monday, earned his third career victory. The last three times he's been on the pole, he's won, including Richmond last season.
All 10 past Texas Cup winners were in Sunday's 334-lap race at the 1&
189; -mile, high-banked track that is marking its 10th season of racing; none won from the pole position.
Stewart had been the one cruising ahead of the field until lap 302. That's when the reigning Cup champion came up behind the lapped car of rookie J.J. Yeley on the backstretch. That allowed Kahne to catch up and even nose ahead, though he didn't officially lead until a few laps later.
Kahne crept alongside Stewart and was on the champion's bumper several times before finally taking the lead. Kahne went around Stewart in the fourth turn at the end of lap 307 and made the final pass right at the line.
It was fun racing like that. Obviously, if there had been 80 laps to go, neither one of us would have been racing each other that way, Stewart said. Definitely, he was better. We weren't. We were extremely loose there at the end.
Denny Hamlin was fourth, his first career top-five finish.
Kevin Harvick was fifth, followed by Jeff Burton, Scott Riggs, Joe Nemechek, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte.
Martin, the 47-year-old Roush driver who initially hadn't planned to race this season, had his fifth top-10 finish and is fourth in points. Martin insists that this will be his last full-time Cup season no matter what happens.
Carl Edwards was in the second spot on lap 257 when he got loose, spun out of control and was done for the day. He missed hitting the back end of Stewart's passing car by mere inches.
Edwards led 50 laps, one more than his Roush Racing teammate Greg Biffle, who was knocked out by Kurt Busch, their teammate from a year ago. Edwards and Biffle won the two Nextel Cup races held at Texas last year.
Busch, the 2004 Cup champion who won his Busch Series debut Saturday, got stuck in the pit for nearly a minute during his first stop because of a problem with the jack lifting the car. Busch dropped to 40th place and two laps down by time he got back on the track.
He was still a lap down when he bumped Biffle from behind on lap 83 and sent the No. 16 Ford into the wall. The impact damaged the safety barrier in turn — and repairs were made during a 10-minute red flag.
It was clear that we had a winning car, said Biffle, who won last April before Edwards won the first fall race at the track.
While he came up short in Sunday's Cup race, Stewart finally took a checkered flag at Texas in round two of the International Race of Champions on Friday night. He had been in 13 races on the track before then, including Cup, Busch and Indy Racing League cars.