Kasey Kahne was the man under the spotlight when he won 81-race on Sunday. Kahne held off championship contenders Tony Stewart and Carl Edward at PIR (Phoenix International Raceway). This was quite a surprising result as no one expected a relatively unknown to step up on the podium especially after the refurnishing of PIR.
Stewart was lead the battle ground in the first 160 laps out of 312 but he had to make a pit stop for gas with 18 laps remaining and that is where the game became difficult for him. Stewart struggled hard to go in front but late pass of Jeff Burton just made his even position worse. Stewart eventually ended the race at the 3rd spot.
Nonetheless, Stewart 3rd position did not affect his point margin a lot. Now, Edwards goes into next weekend’s season finale with a lead of 3 points over Stewart. Edwards is extremely excited about acquiring his maiden Sprint Cup championship, while Stewart would celebrate his third.
''We're going to make him sweat it out,'' Stewart said. ''As far as I'm concerned, it's a dead heat going in there. I'm pumped. I wish I was going to Homestead tomorrow.''
Edwards as enthusiastic as him too, the two-time Homestead winner said, ''This is going to be a battle. I truly believe it's going to be a good race.'' Edwards added, ''That place is magical for us. I really enjoy going there.''
This race happened to be the closest race since the NASCAR has implemented a 10-race chase for the Sprint Cup Championship in 2004. Jimmie Johnson, who is a five-time defending NASCAR champion finished 14th. Johnson is now officially eliminated from title contention.
Meanwhile, Kahne got it perfectly right for the first time since Atlanta in 2009. This also happened to be Kahne’s last race with the Red Bull as Red Bull is planning to pull out of NASCAR. Kahne has informed that he is moving to Hendrik Motorsports next season.
Burton also stole some limelight. He finished fourth and was closely followed by Ryan Newman. AJ Allmendinger came in sixth and David Reutimann took the seventh spot. Marcos Ambrose acquired the eighth position, trailed by Paul Menard and Clint Bowyer.
Busch was tied with Kevin Harvick when he finished 12th in the final standings. He won’t be included in the season ending award ceremony which tale place in his hometown i.e. Las Vegas. It was not a good day for the Buschs as his Busch older brother, Kurt, ran out of gas during the race. Kurt eventually wound up 22nd.