Kahne wins, but Burton maintains lead in standings

Sunday, October 15, 2006

CONCORD, N.C. -- Kasey Kahne did everything right, yet it did little to help his championship hopes.

Kahne put on a dominating performance Saturday night to complete a season sweep at Lowe's Motor Speedway, passing track favorite Jimmie Johnson with 26 laps go and pulling away for the victory.

But the win -- his series-leading sixth of the season -- hardly moved him in the Chase for the championship standings. He's eighth, 160 points out with five races to go before the Nextel Cup is awarded.

Although several Chase contenders had horrible nights -- including Denny Hamlin, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon -- Jeff Burton is proving to be an excellent points racer and retained his spot atop the standings in spite of a pit road miscue. He finished third and leads Matt Kenseth by 45 points.

Kahne led 134 laps to grab the win, his second this season on the 1.5-mile track. In May, he nipped Johnson to win the Coca-Cola 600 in May.

Johnson, winner of five of the past eight races at Lowe's, finished second again. He moved up one point to seventh in the Chase standings, but is still 146 out.

Still, the top half of the standings is tight, and only 106 points separate Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr., who finished fourth on Saturday night and is fifth in the standings.

Earnhardt marveled at what Burton has accomplished.

"I couldn't catch up to the Ice Man, Jeff Burton," Earnhardt said. "He's not indestructible, but he's doing a great job. He's been doing it for years. He knows what it takes."

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