BRISTOL, Tenn. – Matt Kenseth held off Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw for 12 tense laps to hang on and win Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The victory is the fifth of the season for Kenseth, most in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and clinches his spot in the 12-driver, 10-race Chase for the Championship.
Kahne passed Juan Pablo Montoya for second in the 500-lap Irwin Tools Night Race and set his sights on Kenseth.
Kahne tried numerous times over the final dozen laps to make the pass and settled for second at the 0.533-mile track.
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“I didn’t figure out how to get by,” Kahne said. “It’s disappointing not to win here. I thought we had the best car the last 200 laps, and it was a lot of work.”
Kahne showed restraint late in the race.
“I think, at the end of the day, I just don’t wreck people,” he was quoted as saying on NASCAR Wire Service.
Kenseth said, “It was an intense race. Kasey’s got a great reputation. He’s a really hard racer, really talented and he’s also a really fair racer. I thought he was going to pass me. I thought he was going to get around me there, but we had just enough to hang on.”
Montoya was third, followed by Brian Vickers and Joey Logano.
Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., was ninth.
Series leader Jimmie Johnson was 36th of 43. Kahne is eighth in the standings, one spot ahead of Biffle.