Kasey Kahne Edges Erik Jones In A Photo Finish At Charlotte Motor Speedwayby Jason Beck May 15, 2015 0 comments
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kasey Kahne capitalized on a green-white-checkered restart, holding off Erik Jones in a photo finish to win the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night. The .005 margin of victory is tied for second as the closest finish in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history.
Following the race, Kahne’s JR Motorsports truck failed post race inspection due to being too low in the front and too high in the rear. The win will stand, with penalties announced next week.
Kahne was jubilant before the announcement an hour following the race’s conclusion.
“It was close at the line, really close, I didn’t know who won,” said Kahne, who thinks the win may have been the closest of his career. “It was exciting…I was definitely surprised to get the win tonight.”
Kahne, who qualified on the pole earlier in the day, was forced to start at the rear of the field due to an unapproved adjustment.
Driving the No. 00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, he stormed through the field and was running third by lap 30.
Kahne and Jones initiated their epic battle for the lead with 23 laps to go. The two ran side-by-side for a handful of laps before Jones pulled away. Kahne was given new life when the caution flew with two laps remaining.
“I needed that final restart, and once we got it I was able to run underneath him,” Kahne said. “I thought once the caution came out, ‘I might have a shot here.’ I tried to use the draft the best I could to stay with him.”
The win is Kahne’s fifth Camping World Truck Series win in only six starts, and his first at Charlotte. His truck domination is surprising even to the veteran NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racer.
“It’s far from easy, and it has worked out really well,” he said.
Jones had the strongest truck of the night, dominating the race until Kahne challenged on lap 111. For Jones, an 18-year-old driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports, the close finish was a disappointment after leading a race-high 88 laps.
“I want to win so bad…it’s hard to run second,” he said. “It really hurts. It’s a shame when it comes down to a green white checkered like that and we can’t bring it home.”
Kahne’s win is the first as a car owner in the NASCAR Camping Truck Series for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the 200th series win for Chevrolet. Earnhardt is excited about the direction of his fledgling truck program, which is anchored by 17-year-old Cole Custer, who is ineligible to race on NASCAR’s longer tracks like Charlotte.
“I know any time that truck comes to the track it has a chance to win, whether it is with Cole or Kasey,” Earnhardt said. “Kasey did a great job the last couple of laps. He obviously had a great truck to do what he had to do to win.”
Last year’s truck champion Matt Crafton cruised to a third-place finish. Tyler Rddick finished fourth in a Brad Keselowski Racing Ford and his owner Keselowski rounded out the top five.
The race was slowed five times for caution flags; with 12 lead changes among six drivers.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas