For the second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in a row, the finish came down to fuel mileage.
Only this time, Kasey Kahne had enough gas in the tank to make it to the finish. And so did his teammate, Brian Vickers.
Kahne finished 14th and Vickers 16th in Sunday’s STP 400 at Kansas Speedway, even picking up a cheap position each when Juan Pablo Montoya’s car ran dry on the final lap. Vickers’ No. 83 Red Bull Toyota was the last of 16 cars on the lead lap as a myriad of strategies played out in the closing stages.
Still, most of the scorching afternoon was spent chasing the handling of the Red Bull Toyotas. Kahne cracked the top 10 with just over 100 laps to go and cycled back to 27th as green-flag pit stops unfolded. He eventually climbed back into the top 20 before finishing 14th — his fourth top 15 in eight Kansas starts.
“It’s frustrating because we couldn’t get the balance on the car to work,” Kahne said. “We struggled all day and never seemed to get it where it needed to be.”
Vickers was up to fourth — right where he started the day, his best starting position of the season — with 16 laps to go and needed a timely caution. He never got it, was forced to pit under green and cycled back into traffic in 17th. He finished 16th.
“We started really, really tight,” Vickers said. “The guys made a bunch of major adjustments throughout the race that finally put us in the right direction, but the car was still loose in and off. It was a hard-fought 16th — the guys never gave up. Both changes we made yesterday (in practice) probably hurt us, but we thought the track would be loose today and it was tight. The car was at it’s best toward the end of the race. We’ll continue chipping away at the points.”
Kahne gained a position in the driver standings to 18th — 43 points out of 10th. Vickers picked up two spots. He’s now 26th, but still 39 points out of 20th.
Red Bull Racing PR