Pocono NASCAR: Kahne triumphs after late battle with Gordon

Kasey Kahne defeated Hendrick team-mate Jeff Gordon in a late battle for NASCAR Sprint Cup victory at Pocono

Pocono NASCAR: Kahne triumphs after late battle with Gordon

Kahne had taken charge of the final stages of the race and was leading Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr in an increasingly spread-out all-Hendrick top three when a debris caution with 12 laps to go erased his seven second lead.

Gordon pounced at the restart and managed to inch ahead of Kahne after a long side-by-side battle.

The four-time champion seemed to be pulling sufficiently clear to take his first win of 2013, but another caution when Matt Kenseth spun set up a green-white-chequered finish.

Kahne initially made a bad getaway, but then carried huge speed down the outside into Turn 1 and made it back into the lead by Turn 2.

He then broke clear to win by 1.3 seconds over Gordon.

Kurt Busch was a frontrunner all day and claimed third for Furniture Row, ahead of Indianapolis winner Ryan Newman and Earnhardt.

Hendrick's dominant championship leader Jimmie Johnson had a rare bad day. He led most of the first half of the race, until a right-front tyre blow sent him sliding into the wall.

Progress was slow in his repaired Chevrolet, but he ultimately recovered to 13th.

Champion Brad Keselowski had his strongest race in a while and was fighting with Kahne and the Busch brothers up front for a spell.

Choosing to take four tyres when rivals took two at a mid-race pitstop dropped him out of contention, as he found himself 15th and unable to regain much ground.

He salvaged sixth at the flag, having got back in the hunt by only changing two tyres at the final stops.

The race featured plenty of incident. Denny Hamlin was among the other drivers to have solo crashes, while Juan Pablo Montoya and Ricky Stenhouse Jr tangled at the first corner of the race and Danica Patrick later triggered another multi-car shunt with a mid-pack spin.

Results - 160 laps:

Pos  Driver              Team/Car                         Time/Gap
 1.  Kasey Kahne         Hendrick Chevrolet           3h06m02.000s
 2.  Jeff Gordon         Hendrick Chevrolet                +1.392s
 3.  Kurt Busch          Furniture Row Chevrolet           +1.948s
 4.  Ryan Newman         Stewart-Haas Chevrolet            +2.425s
 5.  Dale Earnhardt Jr   Hendrick Chevrolet                +2.747s
 6.  Brad Keselowski     Penske Ford                       +2.987s
 7.  Joey Logano         Penske Ford                       +3.175s
 8.  Kyle Busch          Joe Gibbs Toyota                  +4.191s
 9.  Tony Stewart        Stewart-Haas Chevrolet            +4.364s
10.  Greg Biffle         Roush Fenway Ford                 +4.774s
11.  Carl Edwards        Roush Fenway Ford                 +4.930s
12.  Marcos Ambrose      Petty Ford                        +5.234s
13.  Jimmie Johnson      Hendrick Chevrolet                +5.582s
14.  Clint Bowyer        Waltrip Toyota                    +5.592s
15.  Martin Truex Jr     Waltrip Toyota                    +5.713s
16.  Jamie McMurray      Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet       +6.080s
17.  Kevin Harvick       Childress Chevrolet               +6.200s
18.  Mark Martin         Waltrip Toyota                    +6.506s
19.  Bobby Labonte       JTG Daugherty Toyota              +6.746s
20.  Aric Almirola       Petty Ford                        +7.064s
21.  David Ragan         Front Row Ford                    +7.380s
22.  Matt Kenseth        Joe Gibbs Toyota                  +7.459s
23.  Dave Blaney         Baldwin Chevrolet                 +7.636s
24.  Casey Mears         Germain Ford                      +7.825s
25.  JJ Yeley            Baldwin Chevrolet                 +8.641s
26.  Travis Kvapil       BK Toyota                        +23.806s
27.  Timmy Hill          FAS Lane Ford                     +2 laps
28.  Juan Pablo Montoya  Earnhardt Ganassi Chevrolet       +3 laps
29.  Landon Cassill      Circle Sport Chevrolet            +3 laps

Retirements:

     David Stremme       Swan Toyota                      151 laps
     David Reutimann     BK Toyota                        141 laps
     Paul Menard         Childress Chevrolet              127 laps
     AJ Allmendinger     Phoenix Chevrolet                122 laps
     Ricky Stenhouse Jr  Roush Fenway Ford                113 laps
     Danica Patrick      Stewart-Haas Chevrolet           110 laps
     Jeff Burton         Childress Chevrolet              109 laps
     Joe Nemechek        NEMCO Toyota                      55 laps
     Tony Raines         Circle Sport Chevrolet            53 laps
     David Gilliland     Front Row Ford                    51 laps
     Michael McDowell    Parsons Ford                      44 laps
     Josh Wise           Front Row Ford                    44 laps
     Alex Kennedy        Humphrey Smith Toyota             22 laps
     Denny Hamlin        Joe Gibbs Toyota                  14 laps

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