07/27 17:49 CDT Kahne doomed by poor restart, fuel woes at Indy
Kahne doomed by poor restart, fuel woes at Indy
AP Sports Writer
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) --- Kasey Kahne held the inside line, a lead and a shot at
winning the Brickyard 400.
By the end, his No. 5 car limped to finish out of fuel, and with Kahne running
out of time to pick up a sorely needed victory.
Jeff Gordon powered his way past his Hendrick Motorsports teammate with 17 laps
remaining Sunday for his NASCAR-best fifth victory at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway. The fun 1-2 restart at the Brickyard didn't translate into a 1-2
finish for Hendrick.
Kahne never recovered --- he tumbled to fifth after the restart, though it was
a moot point once he ran out of fuel and finished sixth.
"Either way, I think sixth was the best we were going to do today," Kahne said.
Kahne led 70 laps and seemed to have the car to beat as he chased his first win
of the season. Kahne needed the win to become the fourth Hendrick driver locked
into the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Without a win, Kahne does not
have enough points to qualify for the Chase. And with only six more races left
until the Chase field is set, he's in danger of missing out of NASCAR's version
of the playoff. Up next could be a big one for him, Pocono where he won last
"We've got five more good tracks for us and six more races," Kahne said.
Kahne wished he could have stretched his fuel --- he gamely tried shutting the
engine to conserve, only to be pushed by Gordon under yellow. Kahne said his
restart was fine.
"I took off and Jeff was in front of me," he said. "NASCAR just let Jeff
control the start. The leader should be able to have a little control over
Team owner Rick Hendrick worried his two cars might wreck as they battled for
"I know Kasey needed a win. He ran awful good today," Hendrick said. "But Jeff
had the dominant car so it all worked out."
Still, Kahne's No. 5 team easily had its top overall performance of the season,
and he would have liked to fight for the win just a little harder down the
"I feel like I should have beat him on the restart," Kahne said. "I finish dead
last if I do, so I feel like that's actually a good thing for once. Something
worked out in our favor."
Here are five things from the Brickyard 400:
JGR RUN: Jeff Gordon took the top spot, then Joe Gibbs Racing took it from
there. JGR drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth finished 2-3-4 in
a strong day for the organization. "It's just a small victory, we're still just
inching our way there," Hamlin said. "Even though we competed for a race win,
we've got do it on a consistent basis." Hamlin had a strong shot to win until
his crew failed to give him all his fuel on a late pit stop. Hamlin, who
surrendered the lead, had to return to pit road. He had fuel concerns when he
radioed to crew chief Darian Grubb earlier in the race, asking how many gallons
he was short. "Too many, buddy. Just do what you can do to save a little,"
Grubb said. Hamlin has three straight top 10s in the same season since 2011.
There might not be much reason to celebrate. His No. 11 Toyota was found to
have possible issues with the rear firewall block-off plates. The parts were
confiscated and being sent back to the NASCAR R & D center. "If we have to do
anything further, we will," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said.
CHECKERED CHEVY: Make it another win for Chevrolet at the Brickyard. Jeff
Gordon's run in the No. 24 led the manufacturer to its 12th straight win at the
track and 16th overall in 21 career races. "That was an awesome Axalta Chevy
SS," Gordon said. Chevy won all four races this weekend at the Brickyard. "Jeff
Gordon's win of the Brickyard 400 capped off a special weekend at IMS as
Chevrolet teams captured four overall race wins in both IMSA and NASCAR
competition," said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President Performance Vehicles and
BROKEN PATRICK: Danica Patrick hoped to have the first solid outing of her
NASCAR career at the Brickyard after a decent 14th-place start. Patrick has No.
10 Chevrolet as high as 12th early in the race until she broke an axle on lap
67. Her car started smoking from behind the rear wheels and she could not get
off pit road. She made an early pit, then hit the garage. She would eventually
return and finished next-to-last in 42nd. "Hendrick gave me great horsepower.
We were the fastest car out there at times," he said. "We qualified better and
had a good car for the race, it just didn't end the way we wanted it too. The
good thing is, I get to come back to Indy and that makes me happy." Patrick had
six top-10 finishes in the Indianapolis 500.
FOUR MORE: Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Joey Logano all qualified
for the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship field, as long as they attempt to
qualify for each of the final six races. They join Brad Keselowski and Dale
Earnhardt Jr. as driver with a spot essentially secured. Logano finished fifth
to earn his spot. "We didn't unload very well, Logano said. "We kept trying to
make up speed and (crew chief) Todd Gordon called a perfect race and got us the
track position we needed to, but it's just so hard to pass out there." So far,
11 drivers have won the first 20 races, and they should all have spots in the
final 16-car field.
LARSON'S RUN: Kyle Larson was the top rookie in the field once again with a
seventh-place finish and is holding on to 15th in the standings. He could make
the Chase field on points. But he'd rather secure a spot with a win. Larson was
hardly an intimidated rookie in his first Brickyard start. "It was kind of just
like any other race," Larson said.