Kasey Kahne’s bumper-banging battle with Brad Keselowski was just the warm-up act in an action-packed race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
Former teammates Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano exchanged words after the race because Hamlin spun Logano as Logano was racing for the lead.
A flat tire knocked Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth out of the race while they were running 1-2.
Typical Bristol, right?
It looked that way as Keselowski and Enumclaw’s Kahne staged a spectacular battle for the lead, only for a caution to put them side by side for a restart with 39 laps to go.
Keselowski had an issue — he either spun his tires or the Hamlin-Logano feud disrupted his start — and Kahne sailed away for his first career victory at Bristol.
“Feels really good to win at this place,” Kahne said. “Such a tough track over the years. This is a big race for me. When you race in the Sprint Cup Series, Bristol is a race you want to win.”
Tempers flared after the race when Logano leaned inside Hamlin’s window to complain about Hamlin spinning him as he tried to pass Gordon for the lead.
Logano was pulled away from Hamlin’s car by crew members for both drivers in a classic post-Bristol clash that delighted the crowd. “They’re fighting! It’s Bristol!” yelled driver Clint Bowyer, who saw the action on the infield big screen.
Logano wouldn’t discuss what he told Hamlin, but indicated there’s no love lost between the former Joe Gibbs Racing teammates.
“That’s a freaking genius behind the wheel of the 11 car — probably the worst teammate I’ve ever had,” Logano said. “I have a scorecard and I’m not putting up with that. What goes around, comes around. I had to put up with him for years, so whatever.”
Hamlin shrugged it all off.
“He said he was coming for me,” Hamlin said. “I usually don’t see him, so it’s usually not a factor.”
Nobody came close to Kahne, who drove his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to the win by 1.7 seconds. He jumped from 14th to seventh in points.
Kyle Busch snagged second from Keselowski, who took over the Sprint Cup Series points lead as the only driver to open the season with four top-five finishes. Kurt Busch finished fourth and was followed by Bowyer and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Ryan Newman was seventh, Brian Vickers was eighth and Paul Menard and Jamie McMurray rounded out the top 10.
Vancouver, Wash., native Greg Biffle finished 11th and is fifth in points.
One month after a fiery crash at the NHRA season opener, Antron Brown won the Top Fuel division at Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla., covering the 1,000-foot strip in 3.761 seconds and reaching 318.77 mph. Other winners were Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle). … Kimi Raikkonen won Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne to become the 15th driver in F1 history to record 20 Grand Prix wins. Fernando Alonso was second, followed by Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa.