Kasey Kahne a winner again after 102 tries; Wins Brickyard

(Photo Credit: SaJorden Miller/ The SkyBoat)
Written by Adrian Beecher
Indianapolis, Indiana – Kasey Kahne, in a battle-tested Brickyard that lasted in duration, over 6 hours, captures his first win in 102 races as well as his first ever win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. For most of the day, the battle for domination was held between Kyle Busch and Marticn Truex Jr., until they wrecked each other after stage two. Here’s how it all went down.

Looking to captures a record 3rd straight Brickyard 400, Kyle Busch started on the pole and led the way early, then on lap 10 our first caution of the day came out. It was for Corey LaJoie in the #23 Dr. Pepper Toyota getting out of the groove and ended up getting loose resulting in him slamming hard into the wall in turn 3. During that caution, weather in the area would send the cars to pit road as the red flag came out for the 4th straight week due to weather.

After an hour and 47-minute delay, the field got back to racing. Busch was still out in front and was able to ride that lead all the way through the rest of stage 1. As he captured stage 1, Busch’s leading of the Brickyard went over 400 consecutive miles dating back to last year’s race which he won.

Shortly after getting back to green flag racing, on lap 57 David Ragan and JJ Yeley got loose and into each other. That would end Ragan’s day. Then on lap 70, the caution came out again, this time for a flat right front tire on JJ Yeley’s #7 Access Construction Inc. Chevrolet, he would hit the wall but make it to pit lane.

This would give us a new leader as some cars pitted and some stayed out. As we got back to green flag racing on lap 72, Erik Jones in the #77 Sports Clips Toyota was out in front. Less than 1 lap into the green flag and another caution came out as Dale Jr. in the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet got pushed from behind causing him to run into the back of the #66 of Carl Long which smashed his radiator, ending his day early.

Lap 80, the field got back to green flag racing with Ryan Blaney in the #21 Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford taking the lead from Erik Jones.  Then on lap 87, Kyle Busch moved Blaney out of the way and regained the lead. His domination would continue for Busch as he would lead the rest of stage two to grab the victory of stage 2.

Martin Truex Jr. in the #78 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota won’t the race off pit road and started the final stage in the lead. On the restart, however, the 18 and 78 raced hard for 1st place coming around turn 1. Truex Jr. got loose and slammed into the right side of Busch, sending both cars into the outside wall. This would end both drivers’ days.

As we got back to green on lap 118, Matt Kenseth in the #20 Tide Pods Toyota was out in front.  Then after taking green flag pit stops, Brad Keselowski over took the lead as he stayed out.

Then with just 10 laps to go, a major wreck on the front stretch transpired with Clint Bowyer slamming into the wall along with Erik Jones. Bowyer would hit the inside wall and bounce back out into the track, and Kurt Busch slammed into him. As the caution was happening, Kasey Kahne was finishing his pit stop. The incident caused a red flag to come out as they cleaned up the front stretch.

After a 20-minute delay for cleanup on the front stretch, Kasey Kahne led the pack on the restart on lap 153.  Then just 3 laps later, Ryan Blaney made contact on the front stretch with Kyle Larson in the #42 Target Chevrolet, which would send Larson bouncing repeatedly off the outside wall down the front stretch. This caution put us into overtime.

On the 2nd lap of the overtime restart, Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, and Jimmie Johnson went three wide going into turn one. That is when Kahne and Johnson got loose, with Johnson having been smoking through his previous lap. Johnson ended up slamming into the wall and Keselowski and Kahne remaining out of trouble for the most part.

“It was just a tin cup moment. I didn’t want to lose by laying up. I thought if we all wrecked, I could go home and feel good about that. But if I laid up, they all drove on, I finished second, I would have been mad about that forever.” Said Keselowski post-race about taking it three wide.

This would force the field into a second restart that ended in disaster before it even got started. The 55 of Gray Gaulding had slammed into the inside wall before the leaders even got to the start-finish line, while Trevor Bane in the #6 AdvoCare Ford was getting pushed from behind, which caused him to go sideways and collect a slew of other cars. This forced the caution to come out as well as another red flag as they cleaned up the front stretch yet again.

On the third overtime restart attempt, after a 24-minute wait this time, the cars were able to make it around turn 1 and two before Denny Hamlin in the #11 FedEx Cares Toyota got turned from behind and slammed into the outside wall. By the time NASCAR Officials threw the caution flag, Kasey Kahne had crossed the overtime line on the backstretch first sealing him with a victory at the track that had given him so many memories.

“To win here is unreal.  I’ve been to all the races here. I’ve been to Brickyards, 500s, Formula One races. I went around the track in a bus with my dad. This place is pretty neat. I got kicked offer the track once when I was at Gasoline Alley. I was jogging, I came here, jumped a fence, because I wanted to run around the racetrack. It didn’t take but probably two minutes and they were on me in a truck. It wasn’t like a race weekend, it was an open day.  It’s pretty wild. This is a neat place. Spent a lot of time here thinking and dreaming about winning at this track. Literally just racing at it was pretty awesome.” Said Kahne after the race.

The win comes at a dire time for Kahne as he has well in the back of the points race. This locks in his spot for the Playoff and will do him good as he looks for a contract extension with Hendrick Motor Sports.

Now the series makes it way back to Pocono for the final time this season for the Pennsylvania 400. Race time is scheduled for 400 miles in 160 laps in the tricky triangle.

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