NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne was bumped out of the Championship chase following the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Kahne was one of four drivers eliminated at the end of the second round. Entering the race he knew his chances on continuing to round three meant that he would have to have a fantastic finish if not a win. It was not to be as Kahne said he was "going backwards" as the laps wound down.
Kahne finished a disappointing 12th. That finish allowed just enough wriggle room for Jeff Gordon to claim one of the last remaining transfer spots into the third round of the chase. The track in Alabama was labeled a wild card type of track where anything could happen when the Chase started this season. Kahne said that he knew what he needed to do and that it's not all about racing at Talladega.
"It was just Talladega – not any different," Kahne said. "I knew exactly what I needed," Kahne said. "I knew I was within one point of one guy going into the weekend."
A Great Car
Kahne ran well during the course of the day and led several laps of the race. During any other race weekend a 12th place finish could be considered a good thing. But that's not the way it is in the new chase format where four drivers are eliminated after each three race round.
The driver of the No. 5 Farmer's Insurance car needed to move forward and pass as many cars as possible. A few possible passes could have sent him onto the Eliminator round where he could still be racing for a Championship. Instead Kahne says that he was moving backwards even with a great car.
"We had a great car," Kahne said as he spoke about the closing laps of the race. "The second-to-the-last restart, we went backward rather than forward, just because the cars in front of me parked it getting into (turn) one. I tried to go around them, and it ended up being a bad decision. I never got back to where we needed to be."
It was obvious that Kahne was not pleased with the outcome of the final race of round two in the chase. He exited his car and answered politely to reporters as he always does. While talking about the end of his chase run, Kahne said that's just the way Talladega was. Sometimes you're upfront and sometimes your in the back.
"It was just Talladega – not any different," Kahne said.
Perhaps he most poetic statement on the end of the day came from Kahne's spotter Kevin Hamlin who went to twitter to voice his feelings about how the teams Championship chase had come to an end.
Hamlin simply tweeted "I feel sick."