Kasey Kahne drives the No. 6 Ragu® Dodge to victory
Kahne edges Biffle by Inches to win at Kansas speedway.
Kasey Kahne gave his sponsor, Unilever, their first NASCAR Busch series victory on Saturday. Kahne held off Greg Biffle by mere inches to win the United Way 300 at Kansas Speedway.
The margin of victory - 0.03 seconds - was the fifth-closest since the series implemented electronic timing in 1993.
Kahne put down the fourth fastest lap during Friday afternoon's qualifying session giving him a prime starting spot for Saturday's event. After starting from the fourth position and battling among the top-five during the first run of the race, Kahne fell back to 15th after losing ground during the first round of pit stops. Kahne methodically fought his way back into the top-ten mid-way through the 200-lap race.
Pit strategy put Kahne back into the top-five with 15 laps to go as crew chief, Trip Bruce, made the call to keep Kahne out on the track on old tires while the No. 60 team of Greg Biffle, who led most of the race, opted to take four fresh tires and then restarted from the 8th position. However, Biffle was not out of the picture for long. He charged back into the second spot by the lap 194, just before the caution flag was displayed for an accident. Green flag racing resumed with three laps to go. As Biffle drove up to the bumper of the Ragu® Dodge, Kahne blocked him to keep the lead. On the final lap, Biffle took a slight lead but Kahne kept his Dodge on the outside, got a run off of turn four and edged Biffle to win by inches at the finish line.
"It was a matter of staying close to him and keeping him loose," Kahne said. "Greg had the best car all day. Trip made the best call to stay out and maintain track position."
Kahne earned his third career Busch victory and second of the 2005 season. The victory was a first for Unilever and sponsoring brands, Ragu®, Country Crock®, Hellmann’s®, Lawry’s® and Lipton® since joining the sport as primary sponsors in 2004.
In a post-race press conference, Kahne thanked Unilever for their support. "I want to thank everyone who has worked hard to make this program a success," said Kahne. "Everyone has put in a lot of hours and a lot of effort to make this team a success and it has finally paid off for us. I want to thank not only Ray and the guys on the team but everyone at Unilever for their continued support. I am happy to be able to give them their first of many NASCAR Busch series victories."
About the hungry drivers™ program:
In its second year, the Hungry Drivers™ program has partnered with Evernham Motorsports for the 2005 NASCAR season. The program gives up and coming "hungry drivers" the opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to get behind the wheel of the NASCAR Busch Series No. 6 Dodge and prove their talent to the racing world.
Unilever brands' Ragu® pasta sauce, Shedd's Spread Country Crock® spread and chilled sides, and Hellmann's® mayonnaise are the primary team sponsors with Lawry's® spice blends and marinades and Lipton® tea joining the Hungry Drivers™ team as associate sponsors. Each brand has category exclusive marketing rights as "proud sponsors of NASCAR" and are official products of six marquee race tracks across the country.
Unilever [NYSE: UL, UN], one of the world's largest consumer products companies, aims to add vitality to life by meeting everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care. Each day, around the world, consumers make 150 million decisions to purchase Unilever products. The company has a portfolio of brands that make people feel good, look good and get more out of life.
In the United States these brands include recognized names such as: Axe, "all," Ben & Jerry's, Bertolli, Breyers, Caress, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann's, Lipton, Knorr, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Skippy, Slim·Fast, Snuggle, Suave and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities where we live, work and play, Unilever in the United States employs more than 15,000 people in 74 office and manufacturing sites in 24 states and Puerto Rico – generating approximately $10 billion in sales in 2004.
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