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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. ┬ęDorsey Patrick  (usa)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet SS, races to an eighth place finish with Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS who finished in second place Saturday night, April 9, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet, leads Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on April 2, 2016 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Toyota, leads Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered and yellow flags to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 under caution at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet, leads Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 28, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, races to victory Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins.  (Photo by Andrew Coppley for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, celebrates his victory with his wife, Chandra and daughters Genevieve and Lydia Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, crosses the finish line for the victory Sunday, February 28, 2016 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. This was Johnson`s 76th career win, 5th in Atlanta. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finished second. The victory ties Johnson with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in NASCAR premier series wins. (Photo by Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #78 Furniture Row Toyota, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 27, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, qualifies for second position Friday, February 26, 2016 and will start on the front row for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett for Chevy Racing)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Target Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on February 26, 2016 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

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