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.