Kahne takes rookie title

Autosport Rookie of the Year award nominee Kasey Kahne won the highly-coveted NASCAR Nextel Cup rookie title by a landslide vote last week

Kahne takes rookie title

The Evernham Motorsports Dodge driver just missed out on a race win no less than five times during the course of a campaign that rates as one of the most impressive rookie seasons in NASCAR history.

Kahne beat Brendan Gaughan by 120 points in the rookie standings, which are determined by each candidate's best 17 finishes of the season, as well as bonus points awarded by a panel of voters at the end of the year. The panel considers factors such as personal conduct and appearance, and relationships with NASCAR officials and the media.

Kahne, 24, is the youngest rookie winner in NASCAR's top series since Jeff Gordon won it as a 22-year-old in 1993. He had 13 top-five and 14 top-10 finishes this season, while Gaughan had one top-five and four top-10s.

"It's disappointing we didn't win [a race]," said Kahne. "We came close a lot of times, but we just didn't get it done. Either way, we had a good season. The guys did a good job and we'll be better next year, that's for sure."

The Autosport Rookie of the Year award is voted for autosport.com's users. The winner will be announced next Sunday, December 5, during the annual Autosport Awards gala evening at London's Grosvenor House Hotel. Alongside Kahne as nominees are Formula 1 driver Christian Klien, Champ Car drivers AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson, IRL Ganassi star Darren Manning and British touring car sensation Rob Huff.

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