Fans boost Kahne to Sprint All-Star victory
Kasey Kahne became the first driver to win the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race after being voted in by the fans this weekend.
After failing to make the field in the Sprint Showdown qualifying race on Friday (May 16), Kahne’s chance to qualify for the race rested with the fans. They voted for their favorite drivers by cell phone, Internet balloting and in Sprint stores.
Kahne took advantage of his popularity, finishing 1.327 seconds over a late-charging Greg Biffle to pick-up the over $1 million first prize.
“I can’t believe it,” Kahne said. “I can’t believe we won $1 million.”
Starting in last place, Kahne had to gradually work his way through the field in the four segments of the race.
“It feels like we did a lot tonight to pass every car,” Kahne said. “It gives me a ton of confidence as a driver.”
Matt Kenseth, Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart rounded out the top five.
Ryan Newman, Sam Hornish, Jr., Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Mark Martin and Carl Edwards completed the top ten.
Kyle Busch led for the first 38 laps, but his recent hot streak ended when he was forced to pull out of the race on lap 50 due to an engine problem.
All five Toyota cars experienced engine problems, with teammates Busch and Denny Hamlin posting DNFs. Luckily for Stewart, the No. 20 car’s engine troubles came Friday, and the crew was forced to make an engine change before the race began.
After a winless 2007 season, Kahne hopes to build upon his first victory in 2008 when he makes his way to Kansas Speedway on Sept. 28 for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kansas 400. Kahne’s last victory at Kansas Speedway came in 2005 when he won the United Way 300(NASCAR Nationwide Series).
Tickets are available for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Kansas Lottery 300 and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kansas 400, September 27 – 28 with the NASCAR Truck Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 250 and IndyCar Series Road Runner Turbo Indy 300 on April 26 - 27, 2009. Get your tickets today by calling 866.460.RACE or visit online at www.kansasspeedway.com