BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kasey Kahne was fed up with all of Joe Gibbs Racing by the time contact with Matt Kenseth ended his race at Watkins Glen earlier this month.
It was the fourth time a JGR driver had wrecked him, and he took to Twitter to voice his displeasure, posting: “Headed to Joe Gibbs Racing to talk to whoever will come out front.”
But when he had his chance Saturday night to right all of those wrongs, Kahne passed.
A clean racer to his core, he trailed Kenseth for a dozen laps around Bristol Motor Speedway, trying every which way possible to pass him without wrecking him and failing miserably. The result was Kenseth grabbing his Sprint Cup Series-leading fifth win of the season, while Kahne settled for a disappointing second.
“I don’t know,” sighed Kahne. “I just … I think at the end of the day, I just don’t wreck people.”
It’s the third time this season Kahne has finished second behind Kenseth, who clinched at least a wild-card berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Kahne, meanwhile, is still hoping just to make it into the Chase. With two wins on the year he’s in pretty good shape, but he’s only eighth in the standings with two races remaining to set the 12-driver field.
After Kahne passed Juan Pablo Montoya for second, he set his sights on Kenseth and tried numerous times over the final dozen laps to make the pass, but never could make it stick.
“I had a better car. I just couldn’t clear him,” Kahne said. “There was a couple shots I took, and I had to have been close, but I could feel him on the right side of my car, and I just didn’t clear him. I didn’t figure out how to get by.
“It’s disappointing not to win here. I thought we had the best car the last 200 laps, and it was a lot of work.”
Montoya, who learned two weeks ago he won’t be brought back to Chip Ganassi Racing next season, was third. Although he could use a win, especially on an oval to prove he belongs in NASCAR, he said he was pleased with the result — especially since he came back from an early speeding penalty.
“To be honest with you, where we are with the team and the result, it’s pretty good,” he said. “I’m still running until the end of the year with (sponsor) Target, and I want to make sure I can do the best for them.”
Brian Vickers was fourth, followed by Joey Logano, Paul Menard, Jeff Gordon, Marcos Ambrose, Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
With two races remaining to set the Chase field, only Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Kenseth have locked up berths.
INDYCAR: Dario Franchitti turned a lap in 1 minute, 17.5271 seconds around the 2.385-mile road course at Sonoma Raceway, edging Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Scott Dixon to win the pole for Sunday’s race.
Will Power, the Sonoma pole-sitter each of the previous three years, qualified third, followed by Ryan Hunter-Reay and points leader Helio Castroneves.
FORMULA ONE: Lewis Hamilton left it to the last second to beat Sebastian Vettel’s time and secure his fourth straight pole position of the season at the Belgian Grand Prix.
In a frantic finish under heavy rain at Spa, the lead changed hands in a flurry of activity as Nico Rosberg, Mark Webber and Vettel beat each other’s times, only for Hamilton to go fastest for the fifth time this season.
Webber qualified third ahead of Rosberg.
BEECH RIDGE: Steve Berry of Gorham overtook Tyler King of Livermore Falls on a restart with 15 laps left and earned his first victory of the season in the 40-lap Pro Series feature.
Bill Rodgers of Old Orchard Beach finished second, followed by King, Mike Rowe of Turner and Dan McKeage of Gorham
Other winners were Matt Dow of Buxton in the Sport Series, Dan Bernier Sr. of Wells in the Wildcat division, and Brandon Barker of Windham in Road Runners.