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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 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, qualifies for second position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Kahne is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate and Pole winner Jeff Gordon, driver of the #5 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive To End Hunger Chevrolet SS, wins the Pole position Saturday, May 2, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama. Gordon is tenth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS will join him on the front row Sunday. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 2, 2015 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eighth position Friday, April 17, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Kahne is fifth 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, qualifies for fourth position Friday, April 10, 2015 for Saturday night`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place racing with Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS who finishes in eleventh place Sunday, March 29, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS qualifies for third position Friday, March 6, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS stops in the pits on his way to his win Sunday, March 1, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS races to victory Sunday, March 1, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory with a burnout Sunday, March 1, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by Andrew Coppley/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS celebrates his victory Sunday, March 1, 2015 after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo by HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
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 March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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 March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
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 March 1, 2015 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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