Kahne scores first top-ten since Sonoma
A seventh-place effort in the Southern 500 snapped an eight race top-tenless streak for Kasey Kahne Sunday night.
Kahne, the highest finishing Hendrick Motorsports driver at Darlington Speedway, picked up his seventh overall top-ten finish in the Sprint Cup Series in 2016, his first since June.
“Yeah, we had great pit stops,” Kahne said post-race. “The guys did a really nice job the entire race, but really at the end it gave us some positions, which was great to get a top-ten.
“We just had a nice car with the Liftmaster Chevrolet. We had a vibration that really hurt us a lot throughout the race and we had it again the final run.
“When we had that, I was nowhere near as good as I was when I didn’t have it. I only didn’t have it like once or twice, but it seemed like that was a pretty big part of our night.
“But when we didn’t have it I felt like we had a pretty nice car. A couple of things we could work on to be better though.”
Entering the Darlington race weekend, Kahne was 18th overall on the Chase grid, 52 points behind the Chase cutline.
With one race before the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins, Kahne finds himself still 18th on the Chase grid, unofficially 44 points behind 16th place Jamie McMurray.
The maximum amount of points a driver can make up in one race is 44.
Because of his situation in the driver’s standings, Kahne’s only chance of making the Chase—along with 14 other mathematically-eligible drivers—is to win next Saturday night’s race at Richmond.
Kahne will be on the outside-looking-in entering the September Richmond race for a second consecutive year. If Kahne fails to qualify for the Chase, it will mark the second season in-a-row he does not qualify for NASCAR’s version of the post-season.
NOTE: The top-tenless streak snapped Sunday night at Darlington was Kahne’s second longest streak during his tenure at Hendrick Motorsports.
Kahne’s longest streak during his time at HMS was an 11-race top-tenless streak in 2015.