Kahne Wins 3M Performance 400Share
Kasey Kahne won the pole on Saturday for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup 3M Performance 400 and then crashed during practice a short time later. He got a lap down early in the race today when he picked up debris in his radiator, which made his engine start to overheat. And then it rained. Could it have gotten any worse for the 26-year old heartthrob? When it rains, it pours. That is, unless you're in first place and the race is declared officially over. Then when it rains, it's adored. Kahne was leading when rain cancelled the race with 71 laps remaining in the 200-lap event. That's not to say he wouldn¿t have won anyway, but he was extremely happy to take his series-leading fourth victory this season rain or shine. It was his fifth career victory in only his third season in the series. It was also the third time this season he has won from the pole. Add to that the fact he moved up from fifth to third in the NEXTEL Cup points race and let it rain, let it rain, let it rain. "I knew I had to be somewhere near the front after 100 laps because that¿s when the rain was thought to be coming," Kahne said. "When it came I figured whatever happens, happens. I¿m looking forward to calling it now or racing it to the end. No matter what, we have a really good race team. "I probably passed 12 to 15 cars on pit road today, thanks to my crew and the fast pit stops. If we didn¿t do that, we don¿t win the race, so this is a great team. They repaired my car when I hit the wall yesterday. I hit it pretty hard and they repaired everything underneath it, and we made it back out there. ¿I knew Carl (Edwards, the second-place finisher), Dale, Jr. (Earnhardt, the third-place finisher) and Greg (Biffle, the fourth-place finisher) all had good cars and so did we. So, yeah, even if the race hadn¿t been cancelled by rain we would have challenged for the victory, but either way, we won." It was the fourth NEXTEL Cup race at MIS to be shortened by rain. Today¿s race was 129 laps, 258 miles. There were a record-tying nine caution periods with precipitation anticipation on everyone¿s agenda even before the race started. Two of the cautions were also for rain. The race might have actually been won on pit road. On lap 113, the field pitted under yellow caused by debris. Kahne got out of the pits just ahead of Edwards to maintain his lead. ¿We had a great car and we just didn¿t need the rain at the end," said Edwards, following his best finish of the season. ¿I guess Kasey beat us out of the pits by a foot. When I started to realize how pivotal that was going to be as far as the outcome of the race was concerned, I said I would really like to see that tape. It showed he definitely beat us out.¿ Biffle, too, didn¿t want to see rain. ¿I need a hot, sunny day. My car shines after 15 laps. The tires get warmed up and off it goes,¿ he said. ¿This rain and cold is bad news for me. I just didn¿t want it to rain. Unfortunately, I think I had a car I could win with here. It breaks my heart that it rained. If it would have stayed green for two more tire cycle runs I think I could have had a pretty big lead.¿ Biffle¿s confidence was boosted by the fact he had won two of the three previous NEXTEL Cup races at MIS. Earnhardt had mixed emotions. He called his third-place finish a ¿partial victory¿ based on the fact he had never even finished in the top-five in 13 previous races at Michigan. ¿We had a car that was good here and I¿m looking forward to coming back in August,¿ he said. ¿Maybe this is a sign that we¿re getting back in the ballpark at these types of tracks. We¿ve been trying to stay positive today and this was a great moral victory for me on a track we struggled at and is similar to lot of tracks in the NEXTEL Cup Series.¿ Tony Stewart was involved in a crash on lap 85. His badly damaged car was taken to the garage for major repairs. Stewart returned to the race to finish 41st, 71 laps down. Bill Lester, the first
African-American to start a NEXTEL Cup race at MIS since Willy T. Ribbs in 1986, finished 32nd. He was one of a record total of 38 drivers to finish on the lead lap.
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