Everything had gone according to plan for Kasey Kahne as he headed into the fifth and final segment of the Sprint All-Star Race Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The $1 million prize awaiting the winner was in his sight.
After a fast pit stop where he had beaten the rest of the field off of pit road, Kahne would not only be lined up in the front row but would have his choice of lanes. And on a night where being in clear air was critical, the driver of the No. 5 car now held a distinct advantage.
"My pit crew did a great job of getting us out first," Kahne said. "I was a little tight the run before, and we didn't have time to fix it because we wanted to get out first and knew if we could get clean air we thought we would be alright."
That advantage, however, was short-lived.
Lined up on the outside of Jimmie Johnson, Kahne didn't get the restart he wanted, and the pair of teammates instead ran side-by-side for two laps. Not helping matters was a tight condition on the 5 car, which allowed Johnson to eventually power into the lead going into Turn 3.
"Jimmie just stayed right there and I couldn't get rid of him," Kahne said. "Then, he beat me off the corner and into three and kind of on exit and it was over after that."
From there all Kahne could do was watch the 48 car drive off into the distance, as he backslid to finish in the fourth position.
"It was a great run for us", Kahne said. "We tried hard and just a little too much bouncing off cars to have a car capable of running with him at the end."