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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)
Jamie McMurray, driver of the #1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS, finished eighth and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS, finished 35th Saturday, August 23, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet, leads during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Crown Royal Presents The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Hellmann`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Scott Halleran/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Hellmann`s Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Hellmann`s Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane with Jared Fogle of Subway after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Subway Firecracker 250 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance/Thankamillionteachers.Com Chevrolet SS qualified 3rd Thursday, May 22, 2014 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina. Kahne is 16th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by: HHP/Alan Marler for Chevrolet)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet, leads Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Patriotic Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 17, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Coatings Chevrolet SS won Saturday, May 10, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Teammates Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance/Thankamillonteachers.Com Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. Gordon continues to lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Coatings Chevrolet SS celebrates his win Saturday, May 10, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Teammates Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance/Thankamillonteachers.Com Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. Gordon continues to lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Coatings Chevrolet SS celebrates his win Saturday, May 10, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. Teammates Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance/Thankamillonteachers.Com Chevrolet SS finished 3rd. Gordon continues to lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (HHP/Harold Hinson for Chevrolet)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS finished 1st, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS finished 37th Saturday, April 12, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Darlington Raceway in Darlington South Carolina. Harvick  is 22nd, Kahne is 23rd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. Teammates Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 2nd and Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS finished 3rd.(Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, is hit by Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, as he pulls into his pit box during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on March 30, 2014 in Martinsville, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS finished 8th and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard Chevrolet SS finished 24th Sunday, March 16, 2014 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Kahne is 11th, Earnhardt, Jr. is 2nd in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Christa L. Thomas for Chevrolet)
Kasey Kahne, Jr., driver of the NASCAR Sprint Cup #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS qualified 10th Friday, March 14, 2014 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. Kahne is 15th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo Credit: HHP/Garry Eller for Chevrolet)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Mountain Dew Kickstart Chevrolet, leads Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 9, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: NASCAR Via Getty Images)

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