Enumclaw's Kasey Kahne earned himself a NASCAR victory and to him, that's more important than a few days off.
The Sprint Cup star led the final 51 laps, held off defending series champion Todd Bodine and brought more success to Kyle Busch Motorsports in winning the Camping World Trucks event at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on Saturday night.
Kahne could’ve easily been soaking up some sun, like his Cancun-bound truck owner, during the Sprint Cup off week. Instead, Kahne took part in his favorite form of relaxation — winning races.
“I’ll buy (Kyle) a vacation anytime to drive this thing again,” Kahne said.
Never miss a local story.
The 30-year-old Kahne is one of Sprint Cup’s most popular drivers, as much for his easygoing nature and good looks as his 11 wins.
But Kahne hasn’t won on NASCAR’s biggest stage in nearly two years and relished taking the Too Tough To Tame 200 checkered flag.
“I enjoy winning and I don’t win near enough,” Kahne said. “So to come here and win this weekend feels great. There’s no way it can’t benefit ... the next month or so, give me some momentum.’
“It’s exciting. I don’t care what it is.”
Ron Hornaday Jr. finished second, and Bodine was third. Series points leader Matt Crafton took fourth and James Buescher finished fifth.
Timothy Peters was sixth followed by former Sprint Cup regular Elliott Sadler. Cole Whitt was next, with Johnny Sauter and David Starr rounding out the top 10.
Kahne, who led 95 laps, has three victories and a second in four career Trucks starts.
Kahne was the clear headliner at Darlington and came loaded with one of the series’ most dominant machines. Busch won eight times last season, including three of the last four events.
Busch has kept it up this year, winning at Phoenix two weeks ago.
Former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch advanced to the elimination rounds in Gainesville, Fla., in his professional drag-racing debut.
The 2004 Sprint Cup champion bounced back from two error-filled qualifying runs Friday with two solid passes Saturday at the NHRA Gatornationals. He covered the quarter-mile strip in 6.532 seconds and reached 211.46 mph in the Pro Stock division.