Kahne takes Truck Series win at Charlotte in dramatic drag race to checkered flag

CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 15: Kasey Kahne, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - MAY 15:  Kasey Kahne, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC – MAY 15: Kasey Kahne, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

CONCORD, N.C.—Driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports, in the organization’s second start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, polesitter Kasey Kahne won a two-lap drag race against Erik Jones to earn his fifth victory in six starts in the series.

Kahne’s victory in the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway denied the dominant No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota of Jones, who led 88 laps but ran a disappointing second after a late caution forced a green-white-checkered-flag finish that took the race five laps past its scheduled distance of 134 laps.

In his six Truck Series starts, Kahne has five wins and a second-place finish.

Kahne’s No. 00 Chevrolet, however, failed post-race inspection. NASCAR deemed the front of the truck too low on both sides and too high in the right rear. The sanctioning body will take the truck to its nearby research-and-development center for further evaluation.

If penalties are forthcoming, they will be announced next week.

Kahne’s margin of victory was a mere .005 seconds, tied for second closest in series history behind the .002-second margin of Kyle Busch over Aric Almirola at Talladega in October 2010.

“Jones was really fast,” Kahne said. “He was kind of in a league of his own when he could get to clean air. I knew if we could stay back and stay with him (on the final restart), as long as he didn’t get to clean air, it would be all right…

“I was able to side-draft, and it worked out perfect to get back to the line.”

Less than half a lap before Jones would have taken the white flag—after Jones made a deft pass for the lead to the outside on Lap 131—Daniel Hemric’s accident in Turn 1 caused the fifth caution of the night, sending the race to overtime.

Jones picked the outside lane for the final restart on Lap 138, but couldn’t clear Kahne, who side-drafted Jones’ Toyota Tundra off the final corner and beat him to the stripe.

In the wake of last week’s misfortune at Kansas Speedway, where Jones led 151 of 167 laps but ran short of fuel while leading late in the race, Friday night’s result left the young driver bitterly disappointed.

“It’s really a shame that we can’t bring it home,” Jones said. “I really thought tonight was the night. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t do it…

“It just sucks. I don’t know what to say. It just really, really hurts. I can’t believe it, man. I really wanted this one, and it’s hard to come home second.”

Interestingly, though Kahne and Jones qualified on the front row, both drivers had to start the race from the rear of the field, Kahne for an unapproved adjustment (changing a broken shock) and Jones for arriving late to the drivers’ meeting.

But by Lap 26, after the first caution, Jones had the lead, a position he maintained until the late caution gave Kahne the opportunity he needed.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race – NC Education Lottery 200

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Concord, North Carolina

Friday, May 15, 2015

1. (1) Kasey Kahne(i), Chevrolet, 139, $48454.

2. (2) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 139, $36563.

3. (9) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 139, $26622.

4. (7) Tyler Reddick, Ford, 139, $22672.

5. (4) Brad Keselowski(i), Ford, 139, $17402.

6. (11) John Wes Townley, Chevrolet, 139, $17157.

7. (17) Timothy Peters, Toyota, 139, $16592.

8. (3) Matt Tifft, Toyota, 139, $16481.

9. (22) Justin Boston #, Toyota, 139, $16342.

10. (18) Spencer Gallagher #, Chevrolet, 139, $17182.

11. (16) Joe Nemechek, Chevrolet, 139, $15761.

12. (6) Scott Lagasse Jr., Chevrolet, 139, $15566.

13. (15) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 139, $15427.

14. (13) Cameron Hayley #, Toyota, 139, $15316.

15. (19) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 139, $15606.

16. (10) Ben Kennedy, Toyota, 139, $15295.

17. (5) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 139, $15040.

18. (20) Tyler Young, Chevrolet, 138, $14984.

19. (30) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, 137, $14929.

20. (29) Kyle Fowler(i), Chevrolet, 136, $15373.

21. (23) Tyler Tanner, Chevrolet, 136, $13546.

22. (8) Ray Black Jr. #, Chevrolet, 135, $13485.

23. (27) Jordan Anderson, Chevrolet, 135, $12457.

24. (26) Caleb Holman, Chevrolet, 133, $12430.

25. (28) Wendell Chavous #, Chevrolet, Engine, 132, $12525.

26. (21) Mason Mingus, Chevrolet, Accident, 114, $12347.

27. (14) David Gilliland(i), Ford, Vibration, 84, $12318.

28. (31) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, Accident, 62, $12071.

29. (12) Korbin Forrister #, Chevrolet, Steering Box, 38, $12016.

30. (24) Justin Jennings, Chevrolet, Electrical, 33, $11516.

31. (25) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, Electrical, 26, $10016.

32. (32) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Suspension, 9, $9016.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  128.947 mph.

Time of Race:  01 Hrs, 37 Mins, 01 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.005 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  5 for 25 laps.

Lead Changes:  12 among 6 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   K. Kahne(i) 0; B. Keselowski(i) 1-4; M. Crafton 5-22; J. Jennings 23; M. Crafton 24-25; E. Jones # 26-65; M. Crafton 66-69; E. Jones # 70-108; T. Reddick 109; E. Jones # 110; K. Kahne(i) 111-130; E. Jones # 131-138; K. Kahne(i) 139;.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  E. Jones # 4 times for 88 laps; M. Crafton 3 times for 24 laps; K. Kahne(i) 2 times for 21 laps; B. Keselowski(i) 1 time for 4 laps; J. Jennings 1 time for 1 lap; T. Reddick 1 time for 1 lap.

Top 10 in Points: M. Crafton – 217; E. Jones # – 201; T. Reddick – 199; J. Sauter – 182; J. Townley – 160; T. Peters – 158; C. Hayley # – 153; J. Boston # – 149; S. Gallagher # – 145; D. Hemric # – 136.

 

About Greg Engle 7420 Articles
Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.