Purchase photos

Kenseth holds off Kahne to get 5th win of season

8/25/2013

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — 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 Kahne, 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 Kahne had his chance Saturday night to right all of those wrongs, he passed on retaliation.

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. Kenseth ended up with his

Sprint Cup-leading fifth win of the season, and Kahne settled for a

disappointing second.

"I don't know," sighed Kahne, winner of the

spring race at Bristol. "I just ... I think at the end of the day, I

just don't wreck people. I just didn't get it done and I'm upset with

myself for not figuring out how to win."

It's the third time this

season Kahne has finished second behind Kenseth, who wrapped up at least

a wild-card berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.

"Kasey's

as good as they get and he's a clean driver," Kenseth said. "He raced

as hard as he could, we ran out of room off (turn) four, we were both

digging as hard as we could to try to get it. Kasey's just an

unbelievable talent, he wanted it bad. We raced as hard as we could race

and used every inch of race track."

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.

"I needed a win bad, but I

also needed a finish," Kahne said. "I just basically ran as hard as I

could, tried to pass him two different times and ran on his bumper and

hoped he'd screw up, and he really never did."

After Kahne passed

Juan Pablo Montoya for second, he set his sights on Kenseth and tried

numerous times over the final dozen laps — "It felt like 112," Kenseth

said — to make the pass, but never could make it stick. He went for the

bump and run on the last lap and missed, and has to settle for second.

"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 and Jeff Gordon. Marcos Ambrose was eighth and Greg Biffle and

Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top 10.

With two races

remaining, at Atlanta and Richmond, to set the Chase field, only points

leader Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Kenseth have locked up berths.

The rest of the top 10 in points are Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kyle

Busch, Earnhardt, Kahne, Biffle and Logano.

Defending series

champion Brad Keselowski is 11th, four points out of 10th and not in

Chase contention because he's winless so far on the season. Keselowski

admitted he's not breathing easy the next two weeks.

"If you're

not in right now, I don't care if you're running eighth or you're

running 13th, every team is worried and concerned — not just mine," he

said. "I'm not going to be out of the worried zone unless I make it or

it's over. That's my job as a race car driver. I care about my team.

We've got two races left. I think they'll be good race tracks for us."

The

two drivers currently in position for the wild-card berths are Ryan

Newman and Martin Truex Jr., who maintained his position despite

finishing 35th when he was collected in an accident that began on a

restart when pole-sitter had his tire cut by contact with Vickers. Also

caught in the accident was Harvick, who drove his battered car into

Hamlin's pit, and Hamlin responded by intentionally shoving it out of

the way.

An animated Harvick had to talk his way past a NASCAR official to get to Hamlin's car window, where the two quickly came to a resolution.

"He

was under the impression that I caused it. He didn't see the replay,"

Hamlin said. "I talked to him. Luckily, we were able to talk right away

and hash it out."

It was a long and disappointing night for Kurt

Busch, who started second in his effort to make the Chase for single-car

team Furniture Row Racing. But a vibration dropped him from first to

fifth, then sent him to pit road for a repair. He was then flagged for

speeding, the pit stop was slow, and by the time he served his penalty

for speeding he had dropped three laps to 39th place.

Then he made

contact with Josh Wise to cause damage to his car, sending him back to

pit road. The original vibration wasn't fixed, and Busch had to go

behind the wall for a length repair. He wound up 31st and dropped three

spots in the standings to 12th.

"When you are 20 laps down there

is nothing you can do," he said. "We are not out. My thoughts all

through the race were we just have to go to Atlanta and Richmond and win

them both. We have two races to go and I heard we are only five points

out of 10th."