Kasey Kahne gets first win at Bristol

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Kasey Kahne pounced on Brad Keselowski to take the lead on a Lap 459 restart and then drove away to win the Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Kahne and Keselowski had been fighting for the point and actually swapped it in the midst of lapped traffic before Jimmie Johnson hit the wall at Lap 448 to bring out the caution. Then on the subsequent restart, Keselowski spun his tires, allowing Kahne to jump ahead for good.

Polesitter Kyle Busch also got around Keselowski and finished second for a nice follow-up after winning the Nationwide race at BMS yesterday. Keselowski settled for third, followed by Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer.

The race changed on Lap 391, when Jeff Gordon was leading Matt Kenseth. While in Turn 3, Gordon’s car suddenly snapped right and hit the wall. Kenseth was on the high line and was unable to avoid Gordon, crashing into him and ending both their days.

During the subsequent caution, Keselowski (along with Paul Menard and Ricky Stenhouse) stayed out for track position. But Kahne, who won the race off pit road and started fourth on the restart, quickly made his way toward the reigning Cup champion to battle him for the lead.

Kahne briefly took the lead at Lap 446, but got boxed in by the lapped car of Terry Labonte, which allowed Keselowski got back in front at Lap 448. Six laps later, Johnson crashed to set up what would be the most pivotal restart of the day for Kahne.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Food City 500

Top 10 Finishers

1. Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet

2. Kyle Busch, Toyota

3. Brad Keselowski, Ford

4. Kurt Busch, Chevrolet

5. Clint Bowyer, Toyota

6. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Chevrolet

7. Ryan Newman, Chevrolet

8. Brian Vickers, Toyota

9. Paul Menard, Chevrolet

10. Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet

Three-time W Series champ Jamie Chadwick joining Andretti in Indy NXT Series for 2023

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Jamie Chadwick, the three-time W Series champion, will drive for Andretti Autosport in the Indy NXT Series next season.

Chadwick will make her debut in an American racing series in March, driving the No. 28 for Andretti Autosport with sponsorship from DHL. The 24-year-old will become the first female driver in 13 years to compete full time in the Indy NXT championship.

Chadwick joined the female free-to-enter W Series in its inaugural 2019 season, winning two races and the first of three consecutive championships. She has been a reserve driver for the Williams Formula One team and will continue in that role in 2023. She also has driven in the Extreme E Series.

Despite her success, Chadwick hasn’t landed a bigger ride in F3 or F2, and her break didn’t come until Michael Andretti contacted her and offered a test in an Indy NXT car.

The final three races of this year’s W Series schedule were canceled when funding fell through, but Chadwick still believes the all-female series was the right path for her.

“W Series has always been and will continue to be an opportunity to be racing for every female driver, so for my side, I looked at it while perhaps I would have liked to step up maybe earlier, at the same time being able to have that chance to race, get that experience, have that development, seat time… I was constantly learning,” Chadwick told The Associated Press.

“In that sense, I wasn’t frustrated at all. But on the flip side of it, now I’ve had that experience testing in the United States in Indy NXT and this is something I’m really excited about.”

Chadwick also is expected to have an enhanced role as a development driver next season with Williams, which chose American driver Logan Sargeant to fill its open seat on next year’s F1 grid.

“Andretti Autosport is proud to be supporting Jamie alongside DHL,” said Michael Andretti. “Jamie’s successful career speaks for itself, but Indy NXT gives Jamie the opportunity to continue her development in a new type of racing.

“We’ve turned out five Indy NXT champions over the years and look forward to continuing our role in developing new talent.”

Indy NXT is the new name of the rebranded Indy Lights Series, the final step on the ladder system before IndyCar.

Andretti will field two drivers next season in IndyCar that were developed in Indy NXT: Kyle Kirkwood, the 2021 champion, will return to Andretti after one season in IndyCar driving for A.J. Foyt Racing, and Devlin DeFrancesco is back for a second season.

Chadwick will be teammates in Indy NXT with Hunter McElrea and Louis Foster. She becomes Andretti’s second full-time female driver alongside Catie Munnings, who competes for Andretti United in the Extreme E Series.