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Wait worth it for Kahne.

Kasey Kahne translated pole position into a race victory in Monday's rain delayed Golden Corral 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Kahne's second career Nextel Cup victory was the first for car manufacturer Dodge at the 1.54-mile Atlanta oval in nearly 30 years and vindicated team owner Ray Evernham's decision to stick with the Dodge Charger through the early part of the season.

With the win, Kahne moves into second place in the overall Nextel Cup points table, just 50 points behind leader Jimmie Johnson after finally grabbing the lead away from long time race leader Greg Biffle on lap 246 and never looking back.

Mark Martin emerged as Kahne's closest threat during the closing stages, which coincided with the longest green flag run of the day, starting on lap 268 and continuing until the conclusion of the 325-lap race.

After disposing of Roush teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, Martin moved on to Kahne's rear bumper with some 15 laps remaining but Kahne simply drove away again and finally crossed the line with nearly two seconds to spare.

After Sunday's washout, Monday dawned grey and cold and remained as such throughout the duration of the race. As expected the green track surface played havoc with the tyre wear in the early stages, and while only Jeremy Mayfield struck the wall with any great force after blowing a tyre there were at least a dozen punctures and/or failures during the race.

Several of those struck by failing rubber recovered to post strong finishes, notably Dale Earnhardt Jr who had to make an unscheduled stop with a little over 100 laps remaining and dropped to 28th before benefiting from the lucky dog pass and then making up a bunch of positions in the final green flag run to cross the line third.

Earnhardt Jr's final run was aided considerably by problems for several of those ahead of him, in particular Kenseth, Jeff Burton and Robby Gordon, all of whom suffered late problems with tyres while on course for top five finishes. Gordon in particular was unlucky, pitting with less than 20 laps to go from a superb third position and dropping to an unrepresentative 28th position.

Behind Earnhardt Jr Jeff Gordon finished strongly to take fourth place from Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Paul Menard, who gained nearly a dozen places in the final green flag stretch in his #15 DEI Chevrolet.



Related Pictures

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LOUDON, NH- JULY 15: Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Evernham Motorsports Dodge, during practice for the NASCAR Nextel Series New England 300 on July 15, 2005 at New Hampshire International Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo By Chris Stanford/Getty
Mark Martin. [Pic Credit Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images]
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series #8 Budweiser Monte Carlo/Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Dale Earnhardt Inc)-Daytona International Speedway,Daytona Beach,FL-2/06. ©Dorsey Patrick  (usa)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, qualifies for ninth position Friday, July 17, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Kahne is twelfth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 14, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, qualifies for the second position, Friday, June 12, 2015, for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Harvick will be joined on the front row by Pole winner Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS. Harvick leads the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, captures the Pole position, Friday, June 12, 2015, for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kahne will be joined on the front row with Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS. Kahne is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, captures the Pole position, Friday, June 12, 2015, for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. Kahne will be joined on the front row with Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS. Kahne is eighth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, wins the pole during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 12, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway on June 12, 2015 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit:  Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 LiftMaster Chevrolet, stands in the garage area with crew members during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS, is introduced Saturday night, May 16, 2015, before the start of the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Kahne finished in seventh place. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, leads a pack of trucks during the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag ahead of Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Dollar General Toyota, to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Glenn/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag ahead of Erik Jones, driver of the #4 Dollar General Toyota, to win the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series North Carolina Education Lottery 200 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 15, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #00 Haas Automation Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout 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 Credit: Photo by Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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 Credit: Photo by Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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