The feeling was an all too familiar one for Kasey Kahne at Kansas Speedway and it was not a feeling the NASCAR driver was taking pleasure in: For the second time this season he was narrowly beaten by Matt Kenseth.
In many ways, Sunday's finish was a mirror image of what transpired in March at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kahne appeared to have a faster car than Kenseth in the closing laps. But in a case of déjà vu, Kahne couldn't take advantage even though Kenseth was slowed slightly by lapped traffic.
"Felt like Vegas all over again," Kahne said post-race. "Just kind of felt like really similar to that in how I could catch him but couldn't really do anything once I got close."
Despite the combination of frustration and disappointment, Kahne still managed to focus on the positives -- and there were plenty.
First, it looked like a weekend where the Hendrick Motorsports cars were by all appearances going to be a bit off.
All four teams lacked speed in practice and none qualified better than 21st -- Kahne started 27th -- and on a day where passing was a challenge and track position ruled supreme, that's not a recipe for success.
But even with the struggles Friday and Saturday, Kahne remained optimistic about his chances on Sunday and in that regard he proved prophetic. In race conditions his Chevrolet was far better, especially when the sun came out and the track heated, as the slippery conditions suited his driving style.
"I felt like our speed was there all weekend but for some reason it didn't show, but I felt like the speed in the car was there," Kahne said. "Listening to Jimmie (Johnson) and Jeff (Gordon), they weren't yesterday.
"We all met (Saturday) and talked about things that worked and things that didn't work. Some of us had more to talk about than others, so it was a really good debrief; I think all of us took that and made the proper adjustments from there. It was a good team effort this weekend."
The runner-up finish moved Kahne up to second in points, the highest he's ever been ranked. Heading into Saturday's race at Richmond International Raceway, he finds himself trailing Johnson by 37 points.
"My team is doing an awesome job," Kahne said. "It has been a lot of fun driving the cars and thanks to Farmers and Hendrick Motorsports for the great cars and the preparation each week."