Kahne Wins His Third Coca-Cola 600

Kahne celebartes in victroy lane 
Photo – Getty Images-

By Jason Schultz

Kasey Kahne wins his first race 
driving a Hendrick Motorsports car Sunday night in Charlotte. 

Kahne, making his 300thcareer start in the Sprint Cup Series, finds no better way to celebrate than by winning the Coca-Cola 600. Denny Hamlin, unable to catch Kahne in the closing laps, left Kahne leading at the finish line to win his third Coca Cola 600. 

In the beginning laps, pole sitter Aric Almirola exchanges the lead with teammate Marcos Ambrose a few times, with Greg Biffle taking the lead from Ambrose on lap nine. Biffle and Ambrose then battle back and forth with Biffle taking the lead from Ambrose on lap 23.

The first round of green-flag pit stops begin on lap 45, with Biffle remaining the leader after the cycle of stops. There is another round of green-flag pit stops before the race sees it’s first caution of the night. 

On lap 112, the first caution comes out for debris, and on the restart, Ambrose is the leader followed by; McMurray, Biffle, Kyle Busch and Kahne. 

Kyle Busch then takes the lead from Ambrose on lap 121, but on lap 125, Biffle passes Kyle Busch for the lead. 

The second caution comes out on lap 134 for debris in turn one, with Jeff Gordon staying out and taking the lead coming to the restart. 

The only caution, involving a driver making contact with the wall, comes out on lap 170 when Travis Kvapil hits the wall in turns three and four. The next caution comes out on lap 177, again for debris. 

Eventually A.J Allmendinger takes his car behind the wall for severely locked  front brakes. He later returns to the track, with a disappointing 33rd place finish.

On lap 192 Greg Biffle takes the lead from Kyle Busch and at the halfway point of the race, Biffle is still leading followed by; Kyle Busch, Kahne, Johnson and Kenseth. 

The next round of green-flag pit stops begin around lap 216. A dominant car early, the No. 9 of Marcos Ambrose, goes behind the wall with an issue similar to Allmendinger’s. In an interview with FOX, Ambrose says, “this is just how are season is going,”  and he eventually finishes the race, just ahead of Allmendinger in position 32.

On lap 280, Kahne passes Biffle for the lead and with just one hundred laps to go in the longest race of the season, Kahne remains the leader followed by; Biffle, Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Johnson. 

Green-flag pit stops begin again on lap 304 and end with Hamlin as the leader but Biffle quickly passes him, and once again takes the lead. With just 86 laps to go, there are only ten cars on the lead lap. 

On lap 316,  Kahne takes the lead and three laps later, the yellow-flag flies for debris. For this caution, Nos.11 and 88 stay out, giving them the top-two spots for the restart. 

Kasey Kahne wastes no time, by overtaking both Earnhardt Jr and Hamlin for the lead on lap 333. 

With 47 laps to go, the final round of green-flag pit stops begin. The No.48 team loses their shot at winning when the gas can – still attached to the car – exits their pit stall, giving Johnson a stop and go penalty. 

Denny Hamlin is unable to catch Kahne in the closing laps and Kasey Kahne goes on to win his first race of the season and his first win with Hendrick Motorsports. 

After a slow start in 2012 season for Kahne and the rest of the Hendrick organization, they are making their presence known with wins in the last three races, and the best cars on the track week in and week out. Kahne, all smiles in victory lane, was excited to win his third Coca Cola 600. 

Next week the Sprint Cup Series heads to the Monster Mile in Dover, Delaware and a race filled with excitement looms.

1. Kasey Kahne
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Kyle Busch
4. Greg Biffle
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. Jeff Gordon
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Carl Edwards
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Jimmie Johnson
12. Martin Truex Jr.
13. Clint Bowyer
14. Ryan Newman
15. Paul Menard
16. Aric Almirola
17. Regan Smith
18. Landon Cassill
19. Jeff Burton
20. Juan Pablo Montoya
21. Jamie McMurray
22. Casey Mears
23. Joey Logano
24. Trevor Bayne
25. Tony Stewart
26. David Gilliland
27. Kurt Busch
28. Bobby Labonte
29. Travis Kvapil
30. Danica Patrick
31. T.J Bell
32. Marcos Ambrose
33. A.J Allmendinger
34. Mark Martin
35. David Ragan
36. Michael McDowell
37. Scott Speed
38. David Stremme
39. Stephen Leicht
40. Dave Blaney
41. Joe Nemechek
42. Cole Whitt
43. Josh Wise

Points Top-Five
1.  Greg Biffle
2.  Matt Kenseth
3.  Denny Hamlin
4.  Dale Earnhardt Jr.
5.  Jimmie Johnson

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