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Archive for Monday, April 10, 2006

Kahne snares five-second victory

Driver wins from pole at Samsung/Radio Shack 500

April 10, 2006

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— Kasey Kahne couldn't believe his rearview mirror when he crossed the finish line Sunday in Texas.

There was nobody there.

Not Matt Kenseth, not Tony Stewart.

"I definitely thought I had my hands full with those guys," said Kahne, as shocked as anybody about his five-second victory at the Samsung/RadioShack 500.

Kahne sped away from the field - and his closest competitors - after the final restart with 17 laps to go to become the 11th different winner in as many Nextel Cup races held at Texas Motor Speedway.

"This is a great victory. It's one of the tracks I have looked at since I started racing. This is a track you want to win at," said Kahne, who turns 26 today.

In his 2004 rookie season, Kahne finished second at Texas - only two-hundredths of a second behind with his nose on the rear bumper of winner Elliott Sadler. He didn't have to worry about a close finish this time.

Kahne even scored a Texas first, becoming the first driver to win from the pole at the 11â2-mile, high-banked track. After taking the lead from Stewart with 27 laps to go, Kahne built a 1.4-second cushion over Stewart and Kenseth before a caution flag for debris on the track. All three cars took four tires on the pit stop and came out in the same order they went in.

It took Kahne a couple of laps after the restart to finally clear the lapped car of Robby Gordon. Once he did, he cruised to the checkered flag. Kenseth raced past Stewart, who led 99 laps after winning last weekend at Martinsville, for second place.

Kahne won for the second time this season, in the same No. 9 Evernham Dodge he took to Victory Lane from the pole in Atlanta last month. It was his third career victory.

The last three times Kahne has been on the pole, he has won, including Richmond last season.

"The car got loose at the start. It took us awhile to get going," Kahne said. "It was a heck of a run with Tony there."

All 10 past Texas Cup winners were in Sunday's 334-lap race at the track marking its 10th season of racing.

Denny Hamlin was fourth Sunday, his first career top-five finish. He led three times for 41 laps. Kevin Harvick was fifth, followed by Jeff Burton, Scott Riggs, Joe Nemechek, Mark Martin and Bobby Labonte.

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