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Toni Montgomery · Saturday October 14, 2006
Kasey Kahne pulled the Lowe's Motor Speedway sweep, winning the Bank of America 500 over Jimmie Johnson. That's no mean feat considering Johnson has seemed nearly unbeatable at the track named for his sponsor, sweeping both races in both 2004 and 2005. It was Kahne's sixth win of the season and further stakes his claim as master of the intermediate tracks.
"There are so many things that can happen," said Kahne. "I've crashed here with a great car. I never think I have the race won. We just kept focusing on not making mistakes and keeping our lead."
With several of those tracks coming up in the remainder of the Chase for the Nextel Cup, you'd have to wonder if Kahne might still have a chance at the big trophy. "Things happen and you're mad and you say your out, but we're just as much in it as anybody," said Kahne. "I haven't ever thought of us as out of it. We have a good enough team to do it." He currently sits in eighth, 160 points behind leader Jeff Burton, who had an up and down night but managed to salvage a third place finish to come out leading the Chase standings by 45 over Matt Kenseth.
Burton's performance prompted rivals like Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to wonder what they will need to do to catch up to him in the Chase. Neither driver was able to gain ground on Burton despite his problems during the race. "We didn't get to gain on the Iceman Jeff Burton," said Earnhardt Jr. "They are there every week doing a great job."
Earnhardt Jr. finished fourth followed by Bobby Labonte to round out the top five finishers. Kyle Busch in sixth was the last of the Chasers to really have a good night. Tony Raines, Carl Edwards, Joe Nemechek, and Brian Vickers complete the top ten.
As for the rest of the Chasers, Matt Kenseth brought home a lackluster 14th place result while Kevin Harvick nursed a broken transmission home in 18th. Jeff Gordon blew an engine while running fourth with just 33 laps to go and ended up 24th while Denny Hamlin and Mark Martin were involved in accidents and finished 28th and 30th respectively.
Hamlin's accident occurred on the first lap of the race but the No. 11 Fed Ex Team was able to make repairs and return Hamlin to the track. Thanks to a high attrition rate due to a number of incidents, Hamlin minimized the damage and dropped only one spot in points Martin's accident on lap 239 was particularly brutal. Martin was trying to pass J.J. Yeley on the inside just as Yeley headed for pit road. The contact launched the No. 6 AAA Ford head first into the outside wall.
"I want to thank Humpy and Bruton Smith and God for soft walls. I'm having fun. The championship is not really something that was meant for me ever, probably isn't this year and it's not going to get me down. I'm having a good time, having a blast," said the notoriously pessimistic Martin. He dropped one spot to fourth in points, 102 behind Burton.
More coverage of the Bank of America 500 can be found right here on Frontstretch.com with our Nextel Cup Breakdown on Monday.
©2000 - 2008 Toni Montgomery and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
Kahne did an excellent job. Ray Evernham is still the smartest man on pit road, when it comes to setting up a race car.
My hat is off to Jeff Burton, I think he is well on the way to his first championship. He is having one of those remarkable years like Bobby Labonte in 2000. Even when he does something wrong, it works out allright. He has a flat at Talladega, everybody else wrecks or blows an engine. He leaves with the points lead, Last night, he pitted at the wrong time, went a lap down, raced back, and finished 3rd, without the lucky dog, that I do not agree with. He is very talented, and has put himself in a position to win, he seems to be getting the breaks that puts a cinch on that championship. RCR is a deserving team they have been through a lot that would have folded some other teams.
Recent articles from Toni Montgomery:
IndyCar Race Recap: MAVTV 500
Five Hundred Miles For All The Marbles
IndyCar Roundtable: Season Grades, Schedule Tweaks, And Possible Title Upsets
IndyCar Race Recap: Hunter-Reay Makes It A Repeat Performance
IndyCar Race Recap: Milwaukee IndyFest Presented by XYQ
IF you want to know more about Toni Montgomery or to see all of her Frontstretch articles, check out her archive and bio page.