May 31, 2006


Sunday night's Coca-Cola 600, the longest race of the season, was a test of endurance and speed. As the laps wound down, it was Ray Evernham's driver Kasey Kahne, in the No. 9 Dodge that had the best of both.

Kahne took the lead from Ford driver Carl Edwards after the last round of pit stops on lap 371 of the 400 lap race, and then held off Jimmie Johnson, for this third Nextel Cup win of the season.

"When they put a little more tape on the nose of the car, it just brought it back to life," said Kahne. "It was great all night, but that really got us going there at the end. That's what did it."

Kahne's win marked the first time a Dodge has won a Coca-Cola 600 since Richard Petty's 1977 win. Kahne, who started ninth, led 158 laps, the most of any driver. The win moved him from eight to sixth in the points.

Kahne ended Johnson's three-year reign at Lowe's Motor Speedway as Coca-Cola 600 champion.

It was also the first time in ten years a Rick Hendrick or Jack Roush driver did not win.

Jimmie Johnson took second away from Carl Edwards during lap 371, but he was not able to close the gap on the leader.

"We were close," said Johnson. "On average they were a little faster than us, but at times we had the fastest car. We had a great pit stop, and I thought that would do it, but we just didn't have the speed there at the end."

Carl Edwards had a poor handling race car all night, but he bounced back from an early spin to finish third.

"Aww, we just kept freeing it up and freeing it up," he said. "I know it might sound like a broken record, but we really did overcome some terrible adversity. We were so bad, and to come back and run our best at the end of the race is great."

Tony Stewart was treated and released for a fracture of his right scapula from a local Charlotte hospital Sunday night for the second time in two days. He had a right front tire go down during lap 34 of Sunday's Nextel Cup race, causing him to hit the outside wall. During Saturday night's Busch race, he also crashed into the wall.

Stewart's condition will be evaluated next week by team doctors.

Racing Trivia Question: Jody Ridley of Chatsworth, GA has one career NASCAR Winston Cup victory. Where did he get the win?

Last Week's Question: Who is this driver? He won the 1963 and '65 World 600. He was also referred to as "Chicago Bum," and "NASCAR's Golden Boy. Answer. His name is Fred Lorenzen, from Elmhurst, IL. He won 33 poles and 26 races dating from 1956 through 1972.

You may read additional racing stories at www.race500.com.

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