“I was trying to get there,” said Kahne. “I would have wrecked probably both of us. It would have just been a wreck. I just tried to pass him as clean as I could, and race him as hard as I could. I thought I had him at one point. I had a good run. I tried to slide across him, but he just kept position. We were rubbing all the way down turn four. I just didn’t clear him. I just didn’t get it done and I’m upset with myself for not figuring out how to win because I clearly had a better car at the end of the race.”
It was Kenseth who got the win, plus the bonus points for Chase seeding, and as it stands now he’d be the top seed over five-time champion Jimmie Johnson when the Chase begins Sept. 15 at Chicago. Even if Kahne had pulled out the win, Kenseth still would have felt pretty good about his championship chances based on his Bristol performance.
“I’m not always a huge believer in momentum as far as just looking at paper and looking at finishes, but I am a believer in momentum as far as performance,” he said. “I think this weekend was huge for us. Even if we would have ran second and got beat at the end, I think it would have been a very encouraging weekend. It would have been a shot in our arm, like man, we had all our speed back. We led some laps. The next 12 weeks are the most important 12 weeks of the season.”