Clutch Kahne survives again
By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
If Kasey Kahne were a cat, he’d have about seven lives left right about now.
Kahne qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup at the 11th hour, grabbing the lead from Matt Kenseth at Atlanta with two laps left in the 25th event of a 26-race regular season. At that point, Kahne had to win a race to make the Chase, and he did.
In Sunday’s AAA 400, Kahne survived elimination from the 10-race playoff by a razor-thin margin, making an improbable comeback from four laps down.
Kahne brought his No. 5 Chevrolet to pit road on Lap 161 with a loose left rear wheel and lost two laps thanks to the unscheduled stop. >From that point, there was a wild ebb and flow to his fortunes.
He got one lap back on a wave-around, only to lose it again when then-leader Kevin Harvick passed him on the track. Kahne lost two more laps when he pitted early—the cost of the wave-around—but regained them when the frontrunners completed the cycle of green-flag stops.
Another wave-around put Kahne one lap down, in position to claim the last ticket to the Chase’s Contender round by two points over AJ Allmendinger.
Kahne is often the forgotten man at a Hendrick Motorsports organization that features six-time champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time champion Jeff Gordon and NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
But Kahne might be worth a bet in this year’s Chase—given his uncanny knack for survival.