Kasey Kahne's decision not to pit proves costly

  • Article by: STEVE REED
  • Associated Press
  • May 27, 2013 - 12:55 PM

CONCORD, N.C. - Kasey Kahne's team had a tough decision to make in the final 15 laps of the Coca-Cola 600 — stay on the track and keep the lead position or pit and take tires.

Kahne, who had the fastest car all week in practice, stayed out — and the decision proved costly.

Kevin Harvick pitted, along with the rest of the field, and came out of pit road in second place, knowing right then he had a golden opportunity to beat Kahne.

After he stayed on the track, Kahne found that none of the leaders were behind him under the yellow flag. He could be heard on the Fox Sports broadcast asking crew chief Kenny Francis, "Did everybody come" down pit road?

Francis replied that they did.

"Oh boy," Kahne responded. "We'll see what happens."

Harvick easily beat Kahne off the restart and went on to win his second Coca-Cola 600 in three years.

"We thought a couple of guys would stay out and that would be enough to get away," Kahne said. "But the whole field pitted. We didn't expect that to happen."

Harvick said once he came out in second place, he pretty much knew it was his race to lose.

"I felt when we came out second, everybody had done their job," Harvick said of his team. "They were all like 5-year-old kids looking at me as a snack. It's like, don't screw this up. You're in control of this race. Don't let somebody get under you, because at that point we were in complete control."

Kahne said afterward it was a tough call, and had he gambled and chose to pit, then some other drivers might have stayed on the track.

© 2018 Star Tribune