For the second week in a row Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne finished poorly.
That could seriously damage his chances to qualify for the season-ending Chase.
A week ago Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet spun out at Pocono Raceway, crashing into the pit road wall so violently that helmets sitting atop that wall were tossed 20-some feet into the air. NASCAR had to stop the race temporarily to remove sheet metal impaled in that wall.
Kahne lasted 49 of 90 laps at the Watkins Glen International road course Sunday before a chain-reaction crash suspended his race again.
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Sam Hornish failed to get up to speed on a restart leading to the wreck. Cars driven by Jamie McMurray and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., were also involved, but Kahne got the worst of it with heavy damage to the front and rear of his car.
The crash sprayed so much fluid around the track that NASCAR had a nine-minute stoppage to clean up the mess.
Kahne got back out later and completed 78 laps.
Before wrecking at Pocono, Hendrick Motorsports driver Kahne looked like a safe bet to at least qualify for the Chase on points. But these two results have him outside the Chase field.
“At this rate, we’re going to have to win (a race) to get in,” Kahne said Sunday.
There aren’t many chances left for that. Four races remain before the Chase field is set.
Fortunately for Kahne, he has a good record at the remaining tracks before the Chase. He won at Bristol and finished second there as well in his last five races there. He has a victory at Michigan and four other top-5 finishes.
“We’ve won at Bristol and Michigan before, and we can again,” Kahne said.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; rick_bonnell