Kasey Kahne holds last Eliminator Round spot by a single point

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These sort of pressure cooker-type situations should really feel like second nature to Kasey Kahne at this point.

Kahne, the man that made the Chase by winning the next-to-last regular season race and then earned the 12th and final spot in the current Contender Round by a mere two points, is now holding a one-point lead over Matt Kenseth for the eighth and final advance position to the Eliminator Round going into next Sunday’s cut race at Talladega.

One wonders if Kahne went “Ho-hum” upon being told of that following his 10th-place finish in last night’s Bank of America 500 at Charlotte – a result that he himself thought was better than expected.

“It was better than we ran most of the night,” said Kahne, a four-time winner at Charlotte in his Sprint Cup career. “We just struggled. The only way I could get it to turn in the center was to be so loose.

“Then it would still get tight after 15 laps, so we would go slower at that point. So we just tried a lot of things and never really got it going.

“Tried to stay out there at the end we were seventh and ended up tenth. We kind of finished where we were running the last 60 laps, but it wasn’t a great night for us at all.”

But it was enough to move him from eight points behind the cutoff at the start of the night to a slim lead over Kenseth, who finished 19th and saw his own previous eight-point cushion disappear (and got in a post-race dust-up with Brad Keselowski).

Kahne figured that next Sunday’s GEICO 500 at ‘Dega will feature a good amount of strategy in the first three-quarters of the race followed by “a lot of guys who just have to race at the end.”

It figures to be a wild time in Alabama, but Kahne’s confident that he can keep himself in the Top 8 and move on to the next round.

“We have good, fast cars for those types of tracks,” he said. “…I think Talladega is a track I have always liked and look forward to.

“Sometimes, you can’t control everything and that is something that will be the same for all of us…It will be interesting how it all works out. It will be a lot of pressure on everyone. It will change throughout the entire race all the way to the checkers.”

Kahne has never won at Talladega in his career, but has a pair of runner-ups from 2006 and 2009. He finished eighth there this past spring in a race won by Denny Hamlin.

Seattle Supercross by the numbers: Three riders separated by 17 points


Three riders remain locked in a tight battle with 17 points separating the leader Cooper Webb from third-place Chase Sexton and these are only a few Supercross numbers to consider entering Seattle.

Seattle Supercross numbers
Chase Sexton made a statement in Detroit with his second win of 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

For the fifth time in 10 rounds. Sexton, Webb, and Eli Tomac shared the podium in Detroit. Between them, the trio has taken 23 podiums, leaving only seven for the remainder of the field. Jason Anderson, Ken Roczen and Justin Barcia have two each with Aaron Plessinger scoring the other.

Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.

Tomac has won two of the last three Seattle races and those two wins in this stadium are topped only by James Stewart. Fittingly, if Tomac gets a third win this week, he will tie Stewart for second on the all-time wins’ list. Tomac tied Ricky Carmichael for third with 48 wins at Oakland and took sole possession of that spot with his Daytona win.

Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.

The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.

In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.

Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.

Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.

Last Five Seattle Winners

2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto

2022: Hunter Lawrence
2019: Dylan Ferrandis
2018: Aaron Plessinger
2017: Aaron Plessinger
2014: Cole Seely

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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Chase Sexton wins in Detroit, penalized seven points