Kasey Kahne charged past Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin in a two-lap shootout to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday night.

Kahne's first win of the season earned him a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

"I struggle with restarts a lot and that's big," Kahne said. "That's one of the things you have to be good at. It worked really well tonight."

Meanwhile, Tony Stewart's much-anticipated return to racing ended a little more than halfway through the race.

Stewart hit the wall for the second time after his right front tire blew out on Lap 172, ending his night with a 41st-place finish.

It was Stewart's first race since the sprint car he was driving struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. in an Aug. 9 race at a dirt track in upstate New York. The fatal wreck is still under investigation.

Stewart showed no emotion as he walked through the garage and didn't say anything as he was trailed by reporters.

Starting 12th, Stewart ran in the top 10 through the early stages of the race, getting as high as fourth though he never seriously challenged for the lead.

"I thought he was pretty strong all weekend," fellow driver Kyle Larson said. "It was cool to see Tony back on the track. ... He's a tough competitor and really fun to race with."

Kahne took his third career win in Atlanta and his first win of the season.


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"We've had kind of a downer year at times," Kahne said.

Kenseth, who finished second, also qualified for the Chase on points. He began the second restart in first place but couldn't stop the charge from Kahne.

Kevin Harvick, who also won the Nationwide Series race on Saturday night, started from the pole and led the first 80 laps but was denied his attempt for a weekend sweep.

Joey Logano, who won last week at Bristol, finished 14th.

  • Atlanta Motor Speedway's slot in NASCAR's schedule is going from Labor Day weekend to late winter. Next year, Atlanta racing shifts to the second week in the schedule, right behind the Daytona 500.

    It looks like a demotion for the track and a gamble with Atlanta's unpredictable weather in the first week of March.

    The track was once was home to two NASCAR races. Now it seems to have drawn the short straw in schedule changes that rewarded Bristol and Darlington.

    Truck Series: Ryan Blaney edged German Quiroga by 0.049 seconds to win the Truck Series race on the road course at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario.

    The win Sunday was Blaney's first of the season but third of his career. Blaney and Quiroga drag-raced off the last corner to the finish line after Blaney made a pass in the final turn.

    It was Blaney's second win in a week -- he won the Nationwide Series race at Bristol last week with a late pass of Kyle Busch.

    This victory gave Brad Keselowski Racing its second consecutive victory.

    NHRA: John Force won the Traxxas Nitro Shootout in Cleremont, Indiana, earning $100,000 at the 60th annual U.S. Nationals. Force, a 16-time Funny Car world champ, beat teammate Robert Hight with a 4.061-second run at 317.19 mph in a Ford Mustang.

    Jason Line claimed the rain-delayed Brainerd victory in Pro Stock. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) earned No. 1 qualifying positions for Monday's eliminations at the final NHRA Drag Racing Series event of the regular season.

    MotoGP: World championship leader Marc Marquez held off Jorge Lorenzo in a back-and-forth battle from start to finish to win the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, England.

    Racer dies: A spokesman for a Salisbury, Connecticut, track says a man who crashed in a race of vintage cars is the first death in the historic-racing festival's 32-year history.

    Authorities say 73-year-old Lee Duran, of Lyme, lost control of his car and crashed Saturday afternoon at Lime Rock Park during a race of pre-World War II cars. No other cars were involved.