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After rough 2016 start, Kasey Kahne gets back on the right track at Texas

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 - Practice

FORT WORTH, TEXAS - APRIL 07: Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Quicken Loans Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 7, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

Jonathan Ferrey

After finishes of 20th or worse in four of his previous five starts, Kasey Kahne might have begun to get his season on track in Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

Kahne finished a season-best eighth, anchoring Hendrick Motorsports’ effort of four top 10s with Dale Earnhardt Jr. second, Jimmie Johnson fourth and Chase Elliott a Sprint Cup career-best fifth.

It was Kahne’s second top 10 of 2016 (10th at Las Vegas) and his best overall finish since a fourth last October at Kansas Speedway.

“We just battled,” Kahne said. “We got behind, got a lap down early again, and we just had to fight back. The team did an awesome job to do that.

“We had great calls to get the car tightened up. I was so loose that I couldn’t go fast enough for a little while there. There at the end, we were actually pretty competitive the last probably 250 laps, like really competitive.

“We were down a lap a lot of it, but we were really competitive. Once we got back up there (on the lead lap) I think we were definitely a top-10 car, and we finished eighth. It was the best we have done in a long time. It feels nice.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 - Practice

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (left) and Kasey Kahne discuss pre-race strategy prior to Saturday night’s Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway. All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers finished in the top 8, including Earnhardt (2nd) and Kahne (8th).

Getty Images

Admittedly, however, there was one not-so-nice incident when Kahne made contact with Greg Biffle on Lap 289, sending Biffle hard into the outside retaining wall and relegating him to a 39th-place finish.

“I just caught Greg to pass him, and he kind of entered out, so I thought I was going to go under him,” Kahne said. “Then he started coming down because he wanted the bottom, obviously, and I was like kind of there and hit the brakes and just hit him.

“I felt really bad because we didn’t really need to do that. I had a hole on entry and then it kind of closed and I should have lifted sooner instead of being that close to him.”

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