Taking advantage of a caution, Kasey Kahne buried his car into Turn 1 with two laps left and grabbed a win from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon in Sunday's GoBowling.com NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway.
Kahne picked up his second victory of the season--all but assuring a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup--his second at Pocono and the 16th of his career.
Gordon ran second, 1.392 seconds behind, followed by Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Penske Racing teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano ran sixth and seventh, with Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle completing the top 10.
Kahne gained one position to eighth in the Cup standings, but, more than anything, the second victory gives him a substantial degree of comfort where the Chase is concerned.
Pole winner Jimmie Johnson was one of the speed horses in the field, but the series leader blew a right front tire on Lap 76 and pancaked the right side of his No. 48 Chevrolet SS against the outside wall near the exit from the Tunnel Turn.
The accident knocked Johnson, who had led 43 laps to that point, out of contention for the win, but it took a subsequent caution on Lap 95--after David Stremme sideswiped the Turn 1 wall--to return all the lead-lap cars to the same pit stop cycle.
Kahne took control after a Lap 108 restart, but two laps later Danica Patrick's Chevy spun underneath Travis Kvapil's Toyota in the Tunnel Turn and ignited a wreck that also collected hapless Jeff Burton and Richard Childress Racing teammate Paul Menard.
The field was bunched for a restart on Lap 116, but that was merely a momentary speed bump for Kahne, who pulled away from Kurt Busch to a lead of 4.851 seconds by Lap 125. The driver of the No. 5 Chevy extended his advantage through a cycle of green-flag stops and was more than seven seconds ahead of Gordon when NASCAR called the eighth caution on Lap 149 because of debris in Turn 2.
Gordon surged ahead of Kahne after the restart on Lap 153, but a caution on Lap 156 for Matt Kenseth's spin in the Tunnel Turn bunched the field again and gave Kahne a chance for redemption with two laps left.
Kansas native Clint Bowyer had a frustrating weekend in Pocono, finishing the day 14th. He remains second in points, 77 points behind Johnson.
"I'm never happy with a top-15, but we are just missing it a little bit,” said Bowyer. "We were better than the 14 (Tony Stewart), but just the debris cautions."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun