Tha Sports Junkies 101

Kasey Kahne wins the Brickyard 400



With the sun setting in the western sky, Kasey Kahne and the 5 Farmers Insurance team kissed the yard of bricks at Indianapolis. Kahne ended a 102 race winless streak that dated back to August 2014 at Atlanta.

The day started off with lots of anticipation and excitement, the Brickyard 400 is one of the most prestigious races all year, and one of NASCAR’s crown jewel events. Polesitter Kyle Busch had won this race the past 2 years and was looking for his first win of 2017. The race was postponed almost 2 hours after just 12 laps for rain. Busch dominated Stage 1, as well as winning Stage 2.  Not far behind him was the 78 Toyota of Martin Truex Jr, a corporate teammate.

Both the 18 and 78 lined up on the front row for a restart on lap 111. On previous restarts, they were allowing each other back in line. On this restart, Busch and Truex both raced hard into turn 1, with Truex getting loose on the inside lane. The 78 spun, collecting both himself and the 18. This incident took out the 2 dominant cars of the race.

With both of the fastest cars gone, this led to an opportunity for a new winner in 2017. At this point, Matt Kenseth was in command of the race. However, several late cautions killed his chances. Many late race incidents took out several drivers, and also brought out 2 lengthy red flags. Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, and others were taken out in a vicious wreck late in the day. Jimmie Johnson also spun while racing Kahne and Brad Keselowski 3 wide into turn 3, all while his car was smoking heavily. This set up NASCAR overtime. The next restart was pure calamity, as Trevor Bayne, Kyle Larson, and others were taken out due to pushing gone wrong. During this restart, the lead did change hands from Kasey to Brad Keselowski.

After the second attempt at overtime, Kasey made it by Brad and the overtime line as the field wrecked behind him. The race ended under its record 14th caution, and the 5 team was celebrating. This was the first win for crew chief Keith Rodden, and it locks Kasey into the Playoffs.

Kahne’s career on the line

Sunday’s win at Indianapolis is Kasey Kahne’s 18th career win, and first since 2014. For months now, rumors have been in the media regarding Kasey’s future at Hendrick. His current contract expires after next season, but the future of the 5 car is still uncertain beyond 2017. Team owner Rick Hendrick avoided this question in the media center post race, saying how proud he is of Kasey making the Playoffs again.

Winning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has reinvigorated Kasey Kahne’s career, as well as shake up the Playoff standings. Kahne’s win effectively kicked Bowyer out, with only 6 races remaining in the regular season.

Next weekend the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series takes on Pocono Raceway. Back in June, Ryan Blaney was able to hold off Kevin Harvick for his first career win at Pocono. With Indy being as intense and unpredictable as it was, expect the rest of the regular season races to be incredibly entertaining.