By Reid Spencer
NASCAR Wire Service
For the first time this year, Kasey Kahne got a close-up view of the best cars in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race – and not when they were passing him.
Kahne ran in the top nine throughout Sunday’s Toyota Owners 400 and finished fourth, posting his first top five since the Chase race at Kansas Speedway last October. The solid run at Richmond was the best evidence of the progress his Hendrick Motorsports team is making.
“It was a strong weekend for our team,” Kahne acknowledged. “Communications side with (crew chief) Keith (Rodden) and the engineers, just kind of what we worked on, the direction we went was really solid all weekend, similar to Bristol. We just finished it off today.
“We had a strong car. We had a great restart there at the end (on Lap 365) to get a couple spots and get a top five. That was good. We haven’t had a lot of these in the last year, two years. So it was nice to run up front, nice to be competitive, battle with the Gibbs cars a little bit, Jimmie (Johnson) a lot, Kevin (Harvick) some.
“I could always see those guys, so it was nice to see the fastest cars in this particular race.”