Kahne earns shot at title

Saturday night there was a slim chance Kasey Kahne wouldn’t make the 12-driver field for the NASCAR Sprint Cup chase for the championship, but a 12th-place finish in Richmond, Va., gave him the cushion he needed.

“It feels great to make it in the Chase,” Kahne said. “We wanted to run a little better tonight, but we did enough to make it into the Chase. I’m proud of everyone on this Budweiser Dodge team. Kenny (Francis, crew chief) called a great race and put us in position to stay up front and not get caught up in someone else’s mess. I’m happy for all the guys that work so hard to put our Budweiser Dodge in a position to make the Chase. It’s a great feeling.”

The points for those 12 drivers are reset at 5,000 and Kahne picked up 20 bonus points for his two wins this season, which pushes him to the No. 5 spot behind leader Mark Martin, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin. Jeff Gordon, Brian Vickers, Kurt Bush, Carl Edwards, Ryan Newman, Juan Montoya and Greg Biffle round out the title contenders.

Kahne’s last shot at the title came in 2006.

Denny Hamlin won Saturday night’s race. The race for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title begins Sunday in New Hampshire. Plateau television coverage begins at 10 a.m. on ABC.

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