LAS VEGAS – Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, led 114 of the 267 laps that made up the Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway today, but was not able to make it back to the point after restarting seventh on the final restart. Kahne came home second and posted his fifth top-ten finish in ten races at Las Vegas. It was his first top-ten finish of 2013 and he moved from 31st to 14th in the overall point standings.
Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools Chevrolet SS, had another solid performance as he came home sixth after running in the top-five for most of the day and leading 66 laps. Johnson has finished first, second and sixth to start the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season and leads the point standings after three events so far this year.
Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr., No. 88 National Guard Chevrolet SS, finished seventh in today’s event and sits third in the overall point standings.
Kevin Harvick, No. 29 Rheem Chevrolet SS, started eighth and finished ninth while his Richard Childress Racing teammate Paul Menard scored his first top-ten finish of 2013 in the Menards/Schrock Chevrolet SS.
Finishing just outside the Top 10 were Tony Stewart, No. 14 MOBIL 1 Racing/Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet SS in 11th and Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonalds Chevrolet SS was 13th.
Matt Kenseth (Toyota) was the race winner, Brad Keselowski (Ford) finished third, Kyle Busch (Toyota) was fourth, and Carl Edwards (Ford) was fifth, to round out the top five.
The series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway next week for the Food City 500 on Sunday, March 17th.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SECOND
TALK ABOUT THE BATTLE AT THE END OF THE RACE WITH MATT KENSETH:
“I had an unbelievable Farmers Insurance Chevrolet. Throughout the whole race the pit stops were great. We just came out sixth there which I think Matt (Kenseth) would have beat us out anyways because he didn’t take tires. Tough to say if we would have gotten by him, but I think just two cycles on left sides I wasn’t quite as good. I couldn’t turn down the track quite as well as I could the runs before. It just got greasy out there and that was it. He beat us, but I had a great day. I drove so hard every single lap today and I think that is just the new Gen-6 car and the Chevy SS. It was a lot of fun. I love it. I had the car to beat today, we lost, but it was still a great run for all of our guys.”
YOU LED THE MOST LAPS IT JUST SEEMED LIKE YOU WERE DOMINATING THE RACE, BUT AT THE END IT JUST DIDN’T SEEM LIKE YOU COULD CATCH MATT (KENSETH, RACE WINNER) WHAT WERE YOU FEELING?
“I caught him, I just couldn’t pass him. We definitely had the best car today our Farmers Insurance Chevrolet. Everybody did a perfect job, when I got to him at the end my tires got a little greasy. I think it was two runs on left-side tires made it a little more difficult to pass that final run there. Prior to that I could pull down and pass anyone on the track, including Matt (Kenseth) who was out there. Just that last run just wasn’t quite as good on two runs on left sides. We still had a great day. My engine ran unbelievable, the car was perfect and the guys did an awesome job. We just didn’t get the win.”
HOW GOOD DID IT MAKE YOU FEEL THAT THREE OF THE FOUR HENDRICK CARS WERE IN THE TOP-FIVE, TOP-10 ALL DAY?
“Well I could see them all day. I battled with Jimmie (Johnson) at one point. He was quick during the middle part of the race. Our testing went really well over the off-season with the Gen-6 car and I really felt confident coming into a 1.5-mile track that we would have a great shot and we did. Our cars were quick all day.”
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AMP ENERGY ORANGE CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED SEVENTH
TALK ABOUT YOUR RUN TODAY NOT TOO BAD:
“We ran a little bit better than where we finished, but just needed a little track position at the end. Couldn’t really get going, just didn’t, I don’t know, the car was pretty good, not exceptional, but we got a pretty good little start to the season. We are working on it trying to improve and we are running up front. So, real happy with that, real happy with our performance.”
HOW SLICK WAS IT OUT THERE TODAY?
“I loved it. It was so much fun. We were moving all over the race track. Just aside from the bumps, I’m not a big fan of all them bumps down in turn one. The surface and race ability here is just what all tracks ought to strive for. There are a few just like it on the circuit like Atlanta, but all the tracks ought to shoot for something like this.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET SS –FINISHED 6th:
ON HIS RACE: “It was a strong performance for the Kobalt Tools Chevrolet. I wish we could have been in Victory Lane with our sponsor as the race sponsor.”
ON BATTLING WITH TEAMMATE KASEY KAHNE: “We were racing really hard. It’s fun to race that fast. We were flying (laughs). But at the end, I just wish we had a little bit more to go up there and race with those guys. But it was a solid performance, all in all.”
KURT BUSCH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW/SERTA CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED 20TH
ON HIS RACE: “We just never got up to speed,” said Busch. “The car was loose then it was snug and no matter what adjustments were made we never could find the right balance for this track. We needed one more caution at the end to get back on the lead lap, which would have given us a good opportunity to pick up additional positions. It wasn’t our day.”
RYAN NEWMAN, NO. 39 QUICKEN LOANS CHEVROLET SS – SIDELINED WITH ENGINE PROBLEMS ON LAP 235
ON HIS RACE:“I missed a shift. And I missed a shift because of the restart. But that’s my responsibility; not those guys in front of me. It was a disappointing day for the Quicken Loans Chevrolet team. It’s entirely on me. But yeah, the restart, if I wanted to point fingers it was the restart. But it was still my fault.”
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 29 RHEEM CHEVROLET SS – FINISHED NINTH
ON HIS RACE: “The Rheem guys battled hard today, and we were able to pick up our first top-10 finish of the season. Our car was fast, but we had a few issues with the handling during the race. The No. 29 team kept at it all day making changes that allowed us to leave here (Las Vegas Motor Speedway) with a good finish.”