Kasey Kahne wins at AMS
Monday, March 20, 2006
Kasey Kahne held off a late charge by veteran Mark Martin to claim the second victory of his career today at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Kahne's win put a Dodge back in victory lane at Atlanta Motor Speedway after a 29 year drought. And it was 29 years to day, as the last time a Dodge visited victory lane at AMS was with Richard Petty on March 20, 1977.
In two starts in the spring race at AMS, Kahne has finished fifth and third, climbing his way to victory lane in his third spring event. His great success in the spring race, also transferred over into Georgia Power Cup qualifying and the Nicorette 300 this weekend as well.
"This weekend we ran second in the Busch race, qualified first in the Cup race and ended up winning it today," Kahne said of his weekend. "It was just a great effort by the guys and I'm proud to be driving for Ray (Evernham) right now, that's for sure."
Kahne was not only fastest during Friday night's qualifying session; he stayed in the top-five of the speed charts all weekend long.
The win moved Kahne to second in the NEXTEL Cup championship standings, just 50 points behind Jimmie Johnson.
Mark Martin finished second, followed by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.
"We had the best scenario there at the end," said Martin. "My car was great on the long green-flag runs and not so good on the short runs, so I thought we were going to get (Kasey) there at the end. But he got a hand full of wheel and got it down on the bottom of the track. We just didn't have anything for him."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the top finishing Chevrolet on a day where tire wear was on the minds of the drivers.
"The track is getting a little slick, but it still puts on a great show and I wouldn't consider a paving job for a least a few more years here," said Earnhardt. "I enjoy getting around here…I love this place. I never really enjoyed getting around an older (surface) like Rockingham. It was a little too worn out for me, but this place is far from wore-out. It puts on a good show."
The Chase for the NEXTEL Cup championship will be in full-swing when the NEXTEL Cup stars return to Atlanta Motor Speedway in October for the Bass Pro Shops MBNA 500.