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Kahne wins on NASCAR's longest night.

Kasey Kahne out drove and out thought his rivals through 15 caution flags and just as many pitstops to take his third win of the season in Sunday's four and a half hour Coca Cola 600 at the Lowe's Motor Speedway.

The combination of hard tyres and a small fuel cell coupled with the usual Lowe's hazards made for a disjointed race in which the lead changed hands nearly 40 times among 16 drivers and the entire lead lap order seemed to shuffle every 30 laps as drivers discovered that while their tyres would easily last more than 35-40 laps, their fuel tanks couldn't.

The result was a race dominated by pit strategy for while overtaking was possible, and plentiful in the pack, the leader at the head of the train always seemed to have an advantage in clean air, forcing crews to decide between four, two or no tyres at nearly every pit stop.

Through all this one team appeared to have an advantage over the rest, Evernham Motorsports, which saw all three of its entries run competitively for the first time this year.

Pole sitter Scott Riggs led many laps and only dropped out of the fight for victory when he left his pit box with equipment still attached to the car during the final round of stops with 40 laps remaining. Jeremy Mayfield had his best run of what has been a dismal season but could only manage a 15th place finish in the end while Kahne, who started ninth but quickly proved that he had one of the few cars able to make passes and go from the middle of the pack to the leaders, led 158 of 400 laps to take his fourth career Cup Series win and his first from any starting position other than pole.

Although Kahne had been the dominant driver on the night he still had to deal with recent Lowe's Motor Speedway King Jimmie Johnson and Roush Racing's Carl Edwards in the final 33 lap green flag run to the chequered flag. On lap 369 Kahne used his preferred high line to wrest second away from Johnson in turn four and just one lap later and in true 'Days of Thunder' style he tricked Edwards into defending the high line into turns three and four before promptly grabbing the lead on the low line.

Johnson followed Kahne passed Edwards some five laps later, by which time Kahne was two seconds up the road and on his way to victory lane with a lead that even Johnson couldn't breach.

While Kahne's win moves him up to sixth in the championship, Johnson's runner up finish helps pad his points lead to 109 over Matt Kenseth, who lost fourth place to his Roush teammate Mark Martin in the final four laps as Jack Roush's team placed all five of its cars in the top eight finishing positions.

Jeff Burton was the best-placed Chevrolet finisher in sixth place with Greg Biffle and Jamie McMurray completing the Roush runners in seventh and eighth places respectively.



Related Pictures

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Kasey Kahne struggled for pace during the Daytona pre-season test
Jimmie Johnson addresses the media in Las Vegas. [Pic Credit Todd Warshaw/Getty Images]
04/29/05 Talladega. Carl Edwards showing Ortho sponsorship colors in Talladega qualified 21st.  Photo Credit: autostock
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS qualified for sixth position September 19, 2014 for Sunday`s Chase Challenger 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. Johnson is in the Chase which continues with the Challenger 16 for this and next week`s race. (Photo by Christa L Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, drives through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series MyAFibStory.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway on September 13, 2014 in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
(Back Row L-R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, and Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase for the Sprint Cup during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
(Back Row L - R) Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M`s Toyota, Carl Edwards, driver of the #99 Kelloggs/Frosted Flakes Ford, Ryan Newman, driver of the #31 Catepillar Chevrolet, Miss Sprint Cup Madison Martin, Miss Sprint Cup Kim Coon, Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Insurance Chevrolet, Matt Kenseth, driver of the #20 Dollar General Toyota, Aric Almirola, driver of the #43 Gwaltney Ford, (Front Row L- R) Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, Greg Biffle, driver of the #16 3M Call Before You Dig Ford, AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Bush`s Beans Chevrolet, Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Haas Automation Chevrolet, and Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser Chevrolet, pose with the Sprint Cup Trophy after qualifying for the Chase  (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Chevrolet SS, qualified for third position Friday, September 5, 2014 for Saturday night`s Nascar Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. Johnson is sixth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Brian France, CEO and chairman of NASCAR, speaks with the media during the NASCAR series partnership announcement at NASCAR Hall of Fame on September 3, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NASCAR and Xfinity announced a deal that will span ten years. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
A general view of the Great Hall during the NASCAR series partnership announcement at NASCAR Hall of Fame on September 3, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NASCAR and Xfinity announced a deal that will span ten years. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
A general view of the Great Hall during the NASCAR series partnership announcement at NASCAR Hall of Fame on September 3, 2014 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NASCAR and Xfinity announced a deal that will span ten years. (Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, applies the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 31, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, races to win with Kyle Larson, driver of the 42 Target Chevrolet SS beside him finishing in eighth place Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmer`s Insurance Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win with a burnout Sunday, August 31, 2014 in the Nascar Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Georgia. With this win, Kahne, a Hendrick Motorsports driver, is in the Chase. (Photo by Christa L. Thomas/HHP for Chevy Racing)

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