NASCAR racing returned to the south for Labor Day weekend in a big way Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, as a near-capacity crowd watched Kasey Kahne sprint to the checkers in the Pep Boys Auto 500 Sprint Cup race.
"To see the crowd here tonight and be at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Labor Day and have so many people who were yelling and excited ... it's great to see that many people here and that excited for a Sprint Cup race," Kahne said.
And that crowd saw plenty of racing action, from Kahne's lightning-fast restart to four-wide racing and loads of beating and banging.
In fact, it was a little push from David Reutimann that helped Kahne blast past Kevin Harvick on the final restart 10 laps from the end.
Harvick had built a solid lead before his teammate Clint Bowyer spun to bring out the caution on lap 310, then chose the inside lane on the double-file restart.
With Reutimann's help, though, Kahne rocketed past Harvick two corners past the green flag.
"I knew I wasn't going to catch him when he went by," said Harvick, who finished second. "He went by like he was qualifying."
Kahne had been strong on short runs all night, leaving him confident that he could bolt to the front for the final 10-lap shootout.
"I knew Harvick and (Juan Pablo) Montoya would be tough there in the end, but we had a better car for about 10 laps," said Kahne , who led six times for 60 laps en route to his second NASCAR Sprint Cup win in Atlanta . Kahne previously won the 2006 Golden Corral 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Montoya finished the race third, while Reutimann was fourth and Mark Martin was fifth.
NASCAR racing returns to Atlanta Motor Speedway March 5-7 for the Kobalt Tools 500 weekend. Visit the AMS ticket office or call (877) 9-AMS-TIX for more information.