Originally Published: August 5, 2013

Kasey Kahne Victorious At Pocono

Sprint Cup: Kahne gets assist from Kurt Busch

By Ed Hinton | ESPN.com

Maybe restarts are overrated. Or maybe Kurt Busch just made it look that way on Sunday.

You know that "killer run" Jeff Gordon thought Kasey Kahne used to beat him at Pocono? Moments after Gordon had made what appeared to be a textbook restart with two laps to go? And just after Kahne, admittedly weak on restarts anyway, had blown another one?

Pass it off, if you will, as the sheer willpower of Kahne, driving the best car in the field, to overcome his mistake and force the issue in a duel of teammates from powerful Hendrick Motorsports.

Jeff Gordon
Elsa/Getty ImagesJeff Gordon appeared to be streaking to victory Sunday at Pocono, but Kasey Kahne had other ideas.

But this wasn't so much a matter of a killer run by Kahne as a killer push from Busch, who was overachieving again for his one-car Furniture Row team.

Busch won the race -- for Kahne.

"On that final restart, I spun my tires a little bit," Kahne told ESPN reporters at the track. "[Gordon] got a great jump."

But then, "Kurt pushed me all the way to Turn 1, which really helped," Kahne said.

Pocono Raceway, with its long, wide front straightaway, is more conducive to drafting, in places, than any other non-restrictor-plate track. So Busch -- restarting fourth, right behind Kahne, who was starting on the outside alongside leader Gordon -- propelled Kahne right on past Kahne's mistake.

Now this was not necessarily a conscious favor, as happened when Busch had pushed then-Penske teammate Ryan Newman to a Daytona 500 win in 2008.

Sunday, "the only option I had was to push Kahne," Busch said, "and I felt like we got hooked up in one of those two-car drafts, and got him clear of the 24 [Gordon]."

In the same moments Busch was trying to find a way to win himself. As it was, he settled for third, the fifth top-5 and ninth top-10 finish of the season for his underdog team.

"I wanted to go to [Kahne's] high side," Busch said, "but I would have definitely been a fish out of water in the gray in Turn 1."

That likely would have made for another wreck in Busch's season of chance-taking, and "it would have been pretty big," he said.

Give Kahne credit for taking the push and running with it, and continuing the rocket ride through Turn 1 and into 2, the notoriously precarious "tunnel turn" in the triangular track.

"I just drove down into 1 as far as I felt I could," Kahne said, "and I got some speed momentum down the back and beat Jeff to Turn 2. That was kind of the race at that point."

"I got a perfect restart," Gordon said. "It looked like I needed to block the inside, so I kind of protected the inside. And he blasted up there on the outside and flat outdrove me through 1."

But Kahne wouldn't have gotten that shot -- would have been left embarrassed by another poor restart when it mattered most -- if Busch hadn't propelled him there.

Kahne Captures Second Win At Pocono


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