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Kasey Kahne wins Brickyard 400

INDIANAPOLIS — Kasey Kahne survived a crash-marred Brickyard 400 on Sunday for his first NASCAR Cup victory in nearly three years.

The Hendrick Motorsports driver won under caution in a race that took more than six hours to complete, finally finishing in fading light after 167 laps and double overtime.

Brad Keselowski was second.

Afterward, Kahne went to Indianapolis Motor Speedway's infield medical center. Officials didn't say why he was being treated but other drivers said temperatures inside the cars topped 130 degrees.

It was a wild day at the speedway with Kyle Busch and Martin Truex — driving the two fastest cars — going out in a crash with 49 laps to go.

That was only a prelude the nutty final 20 laps that included five crashes, two of which brought out red flags.

Busch looked as if he would make history as the first driver to win three straight Brickyards when he led the first 71 laps — and 87 overall. But when Truex's car slid up the track, both hit the wall.

That opened the door for Kahne, who had struggled all season. And as the crashes happened behind, Kahne overcame muscle cramps to hold on for his 18th victory and first since Atlanta in August 2014.

The race was red-flagged with 10 laps left after Kurt Busch, Erik Jones and Clint Bowyer collided coming out of the fourth turn.

On the ensuing restart, Kyle Larson hit the wall to bring out another caution.

Things went awry once more when Jimmie Johnson, Kese­lowski and Kahne tried to go three-wide through Turn 3 on what was supposed to be the second-to-last lap. But Johnson's smoking car spun and slammed into the wall, forcing overtime.

"I wouldn't call it an absurdity, I just think it was a crazy race," Keselowski said. "There was some crazy strategy."

And after Trevor Bayne's car got sideways with two laps left in the first overtime, another red flag came out and another overtime began. But the race still wasn't over.

With the sun setting and no lights at the track, Kahne barely made it to the overtime line as another multicar pileup occurred behind him to bring out the last of the 14 cautions to seal the win.

The race had a bit of everything: a 1-hour, 47-minute rain delay, scorching temperatures in the cars and plenty of crashes. None seemed bigger than the one that ousted the race leaders, Truex and Kyle Busch — the de facto Joe Gibbs Racing teammates.

For the first two-thirds of the race, it looked as if Busch would make history with his third straight victory at the track.

But when Truex's car started to spin on Lap 111, everything changed. Truex tapped Busch's No. 18 car, sending both into the wall and flames shooting out of the bottom of Truex's car. Neither was seriously hurt.

"That's the way it goes," Busch said. "Just chalk it up to another one we found a way to lose."

"I just got loose and wrecked him. It was totally my fault," Truex said.

For Busch, it was a devastating blow. After becoming the first Cup driver to capture back-to-back Brickyard poles since Ernie Irvan in 1997 and 1998 and extending his streak to 181 laps led at Indy, he couldn't snap the 12-month winless streak.

NHRA: Robert Hight beat Tommy Johnson in the Mile-High Nationals in Morrison, Colo., to extend his Funny Car victory streak to 13 seasons. Antron Brown won in Top Fuel, Drew Skillman in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Kasey Kahne wins Brickyard 400 07/23/17 [Last modified: Sunday, July 23, 2017 11:21pm]
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