Kahne Finishes 11th at Texas Motor Speedway
The No. 5 Great Clips/Justice League Racing team persevered to a top-11 finish in Sunday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway after rolling off the grid 19th. It was the 37-year-old’s 27th career start at the mile-and-a-half speedway located in Fort Worth, Texas.
Date: Sunday, November 5, 2017
Event: AAA Texas 500
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 19th/11th (Completed 334 of 334 laps)
During the opening laps in Stage 1, Kahne, a previous winner at Texas, reported that the No. 5 Chevy was tight in corners but felt “good” on entry. In the event’s first pit stop, crew chief Darian Grubb utilized a four-tire stop to make an air pressure adjustment in hopes of freeing up the car. The change allowed Kahne to consistently race in the top 15 for the remainder of the stage, where he took the green-white-checkered flag in the 12th position.
Shortly after the green flag waved for the second stage, Kahne was involved in an incident with a competitor. The on-track incident caused the No. 5 Chevy to pit twice under caution for routine service and to address left-rear quarter panel damage. As a result, Kahne restarted 26th and was able to race his way into the top 20 over the next 30 circuits. The driver of the No. 5 Chevy then found himself scored second after Grubb kept his driver on track while competitors were making their scheduled green-flag pit stops. However, Kahne ultimately ended Stage 2 in the 18th position despite running top-five lap times.
The final 164 laps of the race proved to be the best for the Great Clips/Justice League team. While the team started the final stage one lap down and in 23rd position, a caution on Lap 242 allowed Kahne to return to the lead lap in 17th. A two-tire pit call on Lap 270 by Grubb vaulted Kahne 13 spots, where he returned to competition in third. Despite losing one position on the ensuring restart, Kahne held on to fourth until a caution brought out the red flag on Lap 285. Kahne tried to maintain track position in the closing laps but older tires prevailed, and he ultimately took the checkered flag in 11th.
While a handful of pit gambles did not pay off with a win, Kahne finished the race by thanking the crew for their hard work that allowed him to capture, as Grubb deemed it, “a solid finish.”