Kahne wins Sprint All-Star Challenge

Kasey Kahne first won the vote from the fans to enter the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Challenge and then took victory in the main event, claiming a check for US $1,012,975 and his first win at Cup level since 2006

Kahne wins Sprint All-Star Challenge

The Gillett Evernham driver finished fifth in the Sprint Showdown, which qualified only the top two finishers into the night's main event, but despite being winless for nearly two seasons, his popularity allowed him be the 24th - and last - driver on the grid competing for the big prize of the day.

Kahne and his team, led by crew chief Kenny Francis, gambled on making a stop and go in the mandatory visit to the pits at the end of the penultimate 25-lap segment of the race. The move gained him track position, putting him second on the final restart of the day.

After that he battled to stay ahead of Greg Biffle, then passed Jimmie Johnson for second and eventually grabbed the lead when leader Denny Hamlin had an engine failure with 17 laps remaining.

Kahne had not been that strong all day but probably driven by the thousands of fans that voted him into the race and a car that got better over the long runs, he held off Biffle to take Dodge's first ever win the All-Star Challenge.

"I wouldn't have believed we could win it until about lap 60 or so," Kahne said. "It feels pretty special to win this race. To get voted in by the fans - they voted us in - we didn't even make our way in.

"The fans put us in the All-Star race and hopefully we made them happy. Twenty-fourth (in the grid) to first, that's the best that we can do."

Kahne's cause was helped by the fact that the event ran caution-free for the full 100 laps, not counting the scheduled caution periods at the end of the first and third 25-lap segments.

Roush Fenway teammates Biffle and Matt Kenseth crossed the finish line second and third ahead of Johnson and Tony Stewart, who was the only driver from Joe Gibbs Racing making it to the end of the race.

Polesitter Kyle Busch comfortably dominated the first segment and looked untouchable until his engine stopped firing on all cylinders. On seven cylinders, he was able to finish sixth in the second segment that was won by a charging Carl Edwards, who then dropped down the order in the third segment.

"We broke something in the motor unfortunately," said Busch. "It was a great race car and a pretty much dominant race car and just had something break within the valvetrain.

"A rocker arm first and then a couple of valves so we ended up just finishing for the night. It was a great race car but just nothing you can do with engine woes."

The third segment was won by Biffle, who overtook Dale Earnhardt Jr after his teammate Matt Kenseth struggled to do so for a number of laps. However Biffle changed four tyres, as did Kenseth on the final stop of the day, while Earnhardt also lost a few spots after changing four tyres.

Hamlin was third out of the pits for the final segment, gambling like Johnson and Kahne on a stop and go to gain track position for the final sprint of the night. He then looked set to take victory until his engine gave up, as did his teammate's laps before.

"This is definitely experimental 'All-Star only' racing," said Hamlin about the engine. "We came out here with our guns loaded and unfortunately our gun went off a little bit before the end of the race. It just wasn't enough.

"We knew this engine wasn't going to go 500 miles. It was built for just a few more laps past 100 and it just didn't make it."

Sam Hornish Jr excelled in the main event after qualifying through finishing second in the Sprint Showdown behind winner AJ Allmendinger. He finished seventh behind his Penske teammate Ryan Newman, beating Dale Earnhardt Jr for position in the closing laps.

Retiring veteran Dale Jarrett completed his last ever race at Sprint Cup level finishing 21st ahead of fellow former Cup champion Kurt Busch.

Pos  Driver                Car        Laps
 1.  Kasey Kahne           Dodge       100
 2.  Greg Biffle           Ford        100
 3.  Matt Kenseth          Ford        100
 4.  Jimmie Johnson        Chevrolet   100
 5.  Tony Stewart          Toyota      100
 6.  Ryan Newman           Dodge       100
 7.  Sam Hornish Jr        Dodge       100
 8.  Dale Earnhardt Jr     Chevrolet   100
 9.  Mark Martin           Chevrolet   100
10.  Carl Edwards          Ford        100
11.  Kevin Harvick         Chevrolet   100
12.  Bobby Labonte         Dodge       100
13.  Casey Mears           Chevrolet   100
14.  Juan Montoya          Dodge       100
15.  Jeff Gordon           Chevrolet   100
16.  Martin Truex Jr       Chevrolet   100
17.  A.J. Allmendinger     Toyota      100
18.  Clint Bowyer          Chevrolet   100
19.  Jamie McMurray        Ford        100
20.  Jeff Burton           Chevrolet   100
21.  Dale Jarrett          Toyota      100
22.  Kurt Busch            Dodge       100
23.  Denny Hamlin          Toyota       84
24.  Kyle Busch            Toyota       50
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