Kahne Leaves Talladega 35th
The final restrictor plate race of the season was completed on Sunday afternoon at Talladega Superspeedway. For the first time this season, Kasey Kahne piloted the white and green UniFirst Chevrolet SS. During Friday’s practice sessions, Kahne and the No. 5 team worked on drafting with the Hendrick Motorsports contingent before earning the 27th starting spot on Saturday. After reaching the top 10 at one point during Sunday’s 192-lap race, Kahne’s day was foiled when the No. 5 UniFirst Chevy spun in the closing laps and received damage. Kahne went one lap down while the No. 5 team made repairs to the UniFirst Chevy and was ultimately scored in the 35th position.
Date: Sunday, October 23, 2016
Event: Alabama 500
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Talladega Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 27th/35th (Completed 191 of 192 laps)
Kahne started from the 27th position and slipped back a few spots shortly after the green flag dropped. Kahne was in the 33rd position when he made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on Lap 37 for fuel, four tires and adjustments. Shortly thereafter, the first caution of the race came out on Lap 41 and Kahne once again visited pit road for fuel, four tires and adjustments to help with the No. 5 machine’s handling. After topping off with fuel under the caution, the Enumclaw, Washington, native restarted 30th on Lap 47 and reached his highest position of the race, seventh on Lap 60. On Lap 75, Kahne fell out of the top 10 as the field began to jockey for position in typical superspeedway fashion. By the midway point of the race, Kahne reached the top 15 again, but slipped back as the back-and-forth nature of restrictor plate racing continued. Kahne continued to work the different racing lines throughout the event, including several times with his Hendrick Motorsports teammates. The 36-year-old was back in the top 15 with just 12 laps left in the race. Unfortunately, with seven laps remaining the No. 5 UniFirst Chevrolet spun bringing out the second-to-last caution of the race and forcing Kahne to pit road for repairs. The No. 5 UniFirst crew worked swiftly to make repairs to the damaged machine, but Kahne lost one lap relegating him to a 35th-place finish.
The Sprint Cup Series is at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. Race day television coverage begins on Sunday, October 30 at 1 p.m. ET on NBCSN.