Kenseth Holds Off Kahne To Get 5th Win Of Season
It was the fourth time a JGR driver had wrecked Kahne, and he took to Twitter to voice his displeasure, posting: "Headed to Joe Gibbs Racing to talk to whoever will come out front."
But when Kahne had his chance Saturday night to right all of those wrongs, he passed on retaliation.
A clean racer to his core, he trailed Kenseth for a dozen laps around Bristol Motor Speedway, trying every which way possible to pass him without wrecking him and failing miserably. Kenseth ended up with his Sprint Cup-leading fifth win of the season, and Kahne settled for a disappointing second.
"I don't know," sighed Kahne, winner of the spring race at Bristol. "I just ... I think at the end of the day, I just don't wreck people. I just didn't get it done and I'm upset with myself for not figuring out how to win."
It's the third time this season Kahne has finished second behind Kenseth, who wrapped up at least a wild-card berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
"Kasey's as good as they get and he's a clean driver," Kenseth said. "He raced as hard as he could, we ran out of room off (turn) four, we were both digging as hard as we could to try to get it. Kasey's just an unbelievable talent, he wanted it bad. We raced as hard as we could race and used every inch of race track."
Kahne, meanwhile, is still hoping just to make it into the Chase. With two wins on the year he's in pretty good shape, but he's only eighth in the standings with two races remaining to set the 12-driver field.
After Kahne passed Juan Pablo Montoya for second, he set his sights on Kenseth and tried numerous times over the final dozen laps to make the pass, but never could make it stick. He went for the bump and run on the last lap and missed, and has to settle for second.
Brian Vickers was fourth, followed by Joey Logano, Paul Menard and Jeff Gordon. Marcos Ambrose was eighth and Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top 10.
With two races remaining, at Atlanta and Richmond, to set the Chase field, only points leader Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Kenseth have locked up berths. The rest of the top 10 in points are Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Earnhardt, Kahne, Biffle and Logano.
Defending series champion Brad Keselowski is 11th, four points out of 10th and not in Chase contention because he's winless so far on the season.
The two drivers currently in position for the wild-card berths are Ryan Newman and Martin Truex Jr., who maintained his position despite finishing 35th when he was collected in an accident that began on a restart when pole-sitter Hamlin had his tire cut by contact with Vickers. Also caught in the accident was Harvick, who drove his battered car into Hamlin's pit, and Hamlin responded by intentionally shoving it out of the way.
An animated Harvick had to talk his way past a NASCAR official to get to Hamlin's car window, where the two quickly came to a resolution.
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