HAMPTON, Ga. - It was Tony Stewart’s return to racing that dominated the headlines before Sunday night’s Oral-B USA 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, but it was Kasey Kahne who stole the show — and a berth in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
In a race that went 10 laps beyond its scheduled distance of 325 laps, Kahne surged past Matt Kenseth on the second attempt at a green-white-checkered-flag finish to win for the first time this year and the third time at the 1.54-mile speedway.
Kenseth finished second and clinched a Chase spot on points, leaving just two of 16 positions in NASCAR’s 10-race playoff available in Saturday’s regular-season finale at Richmond International Raceway.
After streaking into the lead on a restart with 24 laps left, Kahne held the top spot until a caution for a fracas between Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. slowed the field with less than two laps left.On the first attempt at overtime, a multicar wreck in Turn 1 wiped out the dominant car of polesitter Kevin Harvick, requiring a second attempt at a two-lap shootout. With four fresh tires to Kenseth’s two, Kahne overtook the No. 20 Toyota after he and Kenseth battled for a lap after the restart and pulled away to win the 17th race of his career by .574 seconds.