NASCAR & Auto Racing

Kahne makes gains, comes away pleased with strong finish

CONCORD, N.C. - Kasey Kahne didn't make history, but he made vast improvement and at this point in the Sprint Cup Series season, that's just as important.

Kahne's second-place finish in Saturday night's Bank of America 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway wasn't nearly as surprising or exciting as his May sweep of the all-star and Coca-Cola 600 races at the track, but just as welcomed.

"We battled hard all day. We made adjustments and kept working on it and got good track position there at the end when we took two tires," said Kahne, who was bidding to become the first driver in history to win all three Cup events at Charlotte in one season.

"We made a charge. I was doing all I could. We gained on (winner Jeff Burton), but we just kind of ran out of time. My car was about done."

At one point in the race Kahne was struggling and running 26th a lap down. The call for two tires on the last pit stop was overshadowed only by the Burton team's decision to take only gas on the final stop.

"I didn't know he didn't have any (new) tires, but I'm not surprised. We just got beat at the end," Kahne said. "It was a tough night. Burton did a good job."

Even with the difficulties he had in the race, Kahne said when he passed Jimmie Johnson - who was in contention the entire race - for second place with 12 laps left, he saw a glimmer of hope.

"I got past Jimmie and I was thinking, 'Just keep going, Do what you can.'

"I tried and tried, but just had to give up," Kahne said. "My car was sliding all over the place on the track. I was afraid I was going to turn it around, and that wouldn't have been good."

Kahne's finish was his first top 10 since he was eighth at the August race at California Speedway. Since his June at Pocono, Kahne has struggled to find consistency, collecting only one top-five finish before Saturday night's race.

"It feels good. We needed a good run," he said. "We needed to get close to a win. We haven't done that in quite a while."