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Atlanta NASCAR: Kasey Kahne rescues Chase place with dramatic win

Kasey Kahne wins Atlanta NASCAR 2014

Kasey Kahne came from nowhere to take his first win of the NASCAR Sprint Cup season at Atlanta and guarantee a Chase place, after a wild, double green-white-chequered, finish.

Kahne was mired in obscurity for the first three quarters of the race, but he unseated Kevin Harvick for the lead after a great restart with 23 laps to go.

Just when Kahne looked to have pulled off the win, Kyle Busch ran into the back of Martin Truex Jr with a lap and a half remaining, bringing out a caution.

As the leaders pitted and some gambled on just two tyres, Kahne fell to fifth.

But main rival Harvick was left with nowhere to go on the restart, when tyre gambler Paul Menard got away slowly and moved up the track in front of him.

Harvick, who had led 195 laps, was sent into the wall and consigned to a 19th-place finish.

The incident brought about the second green-white-chequered attempt, and Kahne got the perfect start from the second row to take the lead at the white flag, with his win ensuring all four Hendrick cars make the Chase.

Matt Kenseth came home second after a spirited attempt to hold off Kahne at the end.

Denny Hamlin rounded out the top three having consistently run at the front, mainly thanks to his pitcrew regularly outperforming their peers in the top 10. His car wasn't quick enough over the long run though, and he fell away at the end with steering trouble.

Tony Stewart performed well on his return to competition after missing three races in the wake of the fatal sprint car incident in which Kevin Ward Jr lost his life.

Stewart ran in the top 10 until a clash with Kyle Busch put him in the wall, and he crashed again on lap 172 when a tyre blew.

Points leader Jeff Gordon was another driver to suffer a flat tyre, sending him into the wall after he had worked his way up from ninth at the start to second behind Harvick.

He ran laptimes equal to the leaders for most of the race but only recouped his lost laps amid the late incidents, finishing 17th.

Team-mate Jimmie Johnson was fourth ahead of leading Ford driver Carl Edwards and Danica Patrick, whose sixth was her best result yet.

Results - 335 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                     Time/Gap
 1.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet       3h55m24.000s
 2.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota              +0.574s
 3.  Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota              +0.829s
 4.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet            +1.154s
 5.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford             +1.523s
 6.  Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet        +1.543s
 7.  Ryan Newman         Childress Chevrolet           +1.771s
 8.  Kyle Larson         Ganassi Chevrolet             +1.904s
 9.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                    +2.162s
10.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford             +2.759s
11.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet            +2.797s
12.  Jamie McMurray      Ganassi Chevrolet             +3.435s
13.  Kurt Busch          Stewart-Haas Chevrolet        +3.544s
14.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                   +3.674s
15.  Brian Vickers       Waltrip Toyota                +4.166s
16.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota              +4.651s
17.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet            +4.706s
18.  Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet           +5.973s
19.  Kevin Harvick       Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       +18.710s
20.  Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford              -1 lap
21.  Michael Annett      Baldwin Chevrolet              -1 lap
22.  Casey Mears         Germain Chevrolet              -1 lap
23.  Martin Truex Jr     Furniture Row Chevrolet        -1 lap
24.  Austin Dillon       Childress Chevrolet            -1 lap
25.  Ty Dillon           Childress Chevrolet           -3 laps
26.  Justin Allgaier     Hscott Chevrolet              -3 laps
27.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford                -4 laps
28.  David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                -5 laps
29.  Reed Sorenson       Baldwin Chevrolet             -5 laps
30.  Cole Whitt          BK Toyota                     -6 laps
31.  Landon Cassill      Hillman Chevrolet             -6 laps
32.  JJ Yeley            Go FAS Ford                   -7 laps
33.  Jose Wise           Parsons Chevrolet             -7 laps
34.  Brett Moffitt       Robinson Toyota               -8 laps
35.  Alex Bowman         BK Toyota                     -9 laps
36.  Ryan Truex          BK Toyota                     -9 laps
37.  Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                 -11 laps
38.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota               -21 laps


     Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                  296 laps
     AJ Allmendinger     JTG Daugherty Chevrolet      258 laps
     Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet       170 laps
     Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                   122 laps
     Mike Bliss          Baldwin Chevrolet             23 laps
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Harvick grabs pole at Atlanta