Kasey Kahne Wins the Pep Boys Auto 500
Kasey Kahne stayed close to the leaders for the majority of the race and when his chance came he passed Kevin Harvick as they raced to the finish line to take the win over Kevin by 1.766 seconds in the Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. This win is a watershed moment for Kahne in his Sprint Cup career considering he had back to back 40th position finishes at Michigan and Bristol last year. This win is also his second of the 2009 NASCAR season and the eleventh of his career. This win is a welcome moment for Richard Petty Motorsports and a cause for celebration, and all but guarantees a Richard Petty Motorsports race car will be in the Chase for the first time since NASCAR implemented this playoff format in 2004.
Kasey Kahne raced away from Harvick and third place finisher Juan Montoya, after a caution due to Clint Bowyer’s spin on Lap 309 of the scheduled 500. This event erased the sizable lead Harvick had built up with fast racing and consistency, and due to a car that was faster in the longer stretches, but no match for Kahne during the shorter runs. Kasey Kahne was helped out by his team and excellent pit stops during the race that saved him considerable time. His time came with just eleven laps to go at the end and he stepped on the gas and took advantage like a real professional.
Kasey Kahne wasn’t the only racer that had a good day as Juan Montoya moved into eighth position in the race for the Chase, 88 points ahead of his closest competitor, Brian Vickers. Mark Martin had a fast and steady race and remains 10th in the Chase standings but he increased his lead over the racer in thirteenth position to 69 points.
Matt Kenseth made the save of the night as he scraped by wall in the early part of the race, which meant his team had to do a little magic and they came through for him. They repaired his car and even improved the steering enough for him to make up for the mistake and finish 12th in this race. This keeps him 12th in the Chase standings, 20 points ahead of Brian Vickers. Kyle Busch is currently 14th in the race to the Chase and with his 13th place finish in this race; he is 37 points behind Kenseth.
“Image: Zuma Press”