There was probably never was a question of if Kasey Kahne would win a race driving for Hendrick Motorsports. It was a question of when which was answered in the Charlotte 600.
Kahne had won two poles, but, seemed to have the worst luck of his Hendrick Teammates. He seemed to have a black cloud over him, but, changed his luck in the 12th race of the season.
That ended with a convincing 4.295 second win over the Toyotas of Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch. The 600-mile race was completed in three hours, 51 minutes and 17 seconds — a record for the longest event on the Sprint Cup schedule. The previous record was 3 hours, 56 minutes, 55 seconds in 1995.
|Hendrick Motorsports pit crew at work. (Photo: NASCAR)
“We're gaining. We're making big strides," said Kahne, who jumped to 15th in the standings after leading the final 44-laps in the 400-lap race. "I have the greatest teammates to work with, which is something that I've really looked forward to coming to Hendrick Motorsports. Tonight we finally put it together.”
It was Kahne's fourth victory at the 1.5-mile oval and his third in the Charlotte 600. And it was the third straight week that a Hendrick car was in Victory Lane in a Sprint Cup race.
Hamlin said that his second place finish was “definitely a step in the right direction.”
Fourth place, Greg Biffle led a race-high 204 laps said, “Kasey got good as the night fell," Biffle said. "And we seemed to struggle a bit."
|Kasey Kahne passes Greg Biffle. (Photo: NASCAR)
Five time champion, Jimmie Johnson, finished 11th after yet another pit stop incident. This time involving a fueler who didn’t remove the fuel can, before his driver left the pits, with 50-laps to go.
Danica Patrick who missed the Indy500 for the first time since she arrived in 2005 said “"today was the first time I had that feeling like I wish I was there (Indy500) after finishing xx five laps down. Then she added some “memories came back.”
The race was typical of the 2012 season; it was free of the multicar pileups that often have marred the longest event on the Cup schedule. There were five cautions, but four were for debris and one was for a single-car crash in Turn
Hamlin opined “bottom line, I think everyone is so concerned with points nowadays, you know if you wreck and you finish in the 30s, you're going to take 10 races to get that back. I think everyone's just a little bit more patient on restarts, as crazy as that sounds. It's just not as wild on restarts as it used to be a couple years ago.”