Kasey Kahne posted his fourth top 10 in the last five NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races with a solid seventh-place finish in Sundays Allstate 400 at the Brickyard. It was his fourth top-10 finish in six outings at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Kahne raced in the top 10 through most of the 160-lap event at the 2.5-mile track, working his way as high as fifth on several occasions. With the effort, Kahne remains eighth in the season point standings, but expanding the margin over 13th to 121 points.
The top 12 drivers in the Sprint Cup Series point standings after the first 26 races will compete in the Chase for the Sprint Cup in the final 10 events of the season.
At times, we were pretty quick today, said Kahne. We had good speed on the longer green flag runs. The tires performed well. We had no tire issues. The car was too tight to pass there at the end, so I was saving fuel and making sure the cars behind me didnt catch me.
Richard Petty, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, was expecting a little more after two of the RPM cars qualified in the top 10. Our drivers got everything they could out of the cars, he said. We were just off a tick.
A disappointing qualifying effort had Kurt Busch starting 40th in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. He picked up 10 spots in the first nine laps and was running 26th by lap 20. Busch had moved inside the top 25 when his bid for a strong finish took a serious blow. After an uneventful green-flag pit stop on lap 31 for tires and fuel, a vibration had the No. 2 Dodge back on pit road for an unscheduled stop five laps later. The crew changed all four tires which corrected the issue, but Busch was a lap down to the leader.
Busch spent the rest of the race working the No. 2 Dodge into position to take advantage of the free pass (lucky dog) awarded with each caution. Unfortunately, the yellow flag appeared only three times in the 400-mile event. Busch finished 27th, but remained fourth in the point standings.
That vibration just killed us, said Busch. We had to pit under green and lost a lap. With so few cautions, we just couldn’t make it up. We must have logged about 60 laps during two segments, running around as the Lucky Dog guy and couldn’t get the caution when we needed it. It was a frustrating day for the Miller Lite Dodge Team. To add to it all, the vibration wasn’t a loose wheel. The guys said it was something going on weird with the tire, like it had equalized or something. It was a big disappointment here today, that’s for sure.”
Reed Sorenson started ninth in the No. 43 Valvoline Dodge and stayed in the top 20 throughout the race. He was back in the top 10 at the halfway mark of the race before an alternator issue dropped him back to 13th at the checkered flag.
Our Valvoline Dodge was really good today, Sorenson said. We had about a 10th-place car. We were better on long runs than we were on the short ones. We had alternator issues that didnt allow us to run like we wanted to at the end of the race. Overall, it was a pretty good day for us.
David Stremme finished 16th in the No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge, his best finish since the seventh race of the season at Texas where he was 14th.
“It was a good day for our Penske Dodge Charger, he said. After happy hour on Saturday, we felt we had a top-15 car. We were a bit loose early in the race, but (Crew Chief) Roy McCauley made some great calls on the pit box. On that last restart, our Dodge Charger came to life. I’m looking forward to getting back to Pocono. We had a good car there earlier this year and were caught up in a wreck which took us out of contention. We have some momentum now and need to keep it going.”
McCauley was also pleased with the results. Thats what we needed, he said. David did a fantastic job driving. We had a good solid car all day. We made up spots when we could pass, but the No. 12 Penske Dodge was solid all day. Thats what we needed. We got caught a little bit behind here in the points situation with some unfortunate incidents and were just trying to claw our way back up there.
The fourth Dodge Charger to post a top-20 finish was AJ Allmendinger in the No. 44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge Charger. He finished 20th.
Sam Hornish Jr. started 15th and ran in the top 15 through the first 60 laps before making contact with the wall on lap 69. He finished 37th.
Elliott Sadler, with the new R6 Dodge engine in the No. 19 Best Buy Dodge Charger, had problems from the start of the race. An oil leak forced Sadler to the garage where it took the team most of the afternoon to correct the problem and get Sadler back on the track. He finished 40th.
Mark McArdle, vice-president of competition at Richard Petty Motorsports, said the RPM teams continue to improve. Obviously, we would have been happier with better results today, he said. Well take a solid day in points for both the 9 and 43, a good day for the 44 as well. We continue to show strong performance with the current generation of cars and the R6 engine is running well. We have a lot of positives to build on. We just didnt have quite the car we needed today to contend for the win. We werent too far off. Weve been gaining a little bit each week. Once again, I think we had a car that was capable of contending for a top-five position. We had great pit stops all day. We just didnt quite get the result we wanted.
Driver Team Finished
Kasey Kahne No. 9 Budweiser Dodge 7th
Reed Sorenson No. 43 Valvoline Dodge 13th
David Stremme No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge 16th
AJ Allmendinger No. 44 Hunt Brothers Pizza Dodge 20th
Kurt Busch No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge 27th
Sam Hornish Jr. No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge 37th
Elliott Sadler No. 19 Best Buy Dodge 40th
Driver Rank Starts Points Behind Wins Poles T5s T10s
Kurt Busch 4 20 2608 -446 1 0 6 10
Kasey Kahne 8 20 2482 -572 1 0 3 8
Elliott Sadler 25 20 1924 -1130 0 0 1 3
Reed Sorenson 26 20 1883 -1171 0 0 0 4
AJ Allmendinger 27 20 1873 -1181 0 0 0 1
Sam Hornish Jr. 29 20 1806 -1248 0 0 1 3
David Stremme 31 20 1699 -1355 0 0 0 0
NASCAR SPRINT CUP
SERIES POINT STANDINGS
(Top 12 after 20 of 36 races)
1. Tony Stewart 3,054 –
2. Jimmie Johnson 2,862 -192
3. Jeff Gordon 2,847 -207
4. Kurt Busch 2,608 -446
5. Carl Edwards 2,556 -498
6. Denny Hamlin 2,518 -536
7. Ryan Newman 2,506 -548
8. Kasey Kahne 2,482 -572
9. Mark Martin 2,471 -583
10. J.P. Montoya 2,461 -593
11. Greg Biffle 2,445 -609
12. Matt Kenseth 2,429 -625