Auto racing: Kahne picks up first Bristol win; Hamlin and Logano pick a fight

2013-03-18T00:00:00Z Auto racing: Kahne picks up first Bristol win; Hamlin and Logano pick a fightThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

BRISTOL, Tenn. - Kasey Kahne's bumper-banging battle with Brad Keselowski was just the warm-up act in an action-packed race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Former teammates Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano exchanged words after the race - in person and on Twitter - 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 Kahne and Keselowski 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 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."

The two sparred briefly on Twitter after the season-opening Daytona 500, when Hamlin complained Logano ruined the closing laps of the race. But he said Sunday's flap was not a carryover.

The feud overshadowed what was undoubtedly the best race to date for NASCAR's new Gen-6 car, and it may have played a role in the outcome of the race, too.

Keselowski was the leader on the final restart as he lined up next to Kahne. Hamlin was lined up behind Keselowski, with Logano lined up behind Hamlin. When the flag waved, Keselowski didn't go and Kahne rocketed to the lead and never looked back.

Although it appeared Keselowski spun his tires, he was adamant after the race about what happened - "I got ran over!" - and that prevented him from breaking away on the restart.

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.

Pit stops

• Kimi Raikkonen won Formula One's season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday for Lotus. Raikkonen managed to pull off a two-stop strategy while his six nearest rivals all needed three. Fernando Alonso of Ferrari was second.

• Antron Brown used the fastest pass of the day to edge Clay Millican in the NHRA Top Fuel final of the Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla. Johnny Gray beat Del Worsham to win the Funny Car division. Allen Johnson won in Pro Stock, and Hector Arana Jr. won in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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