NASCAR at Atlanta 2014 Results: Winner, Standings, Highlights and Reaction

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor ISeptember 1, 2014

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Kasey Kahne is in the Chase. 

Entering the Oral-B USA 500 directly on the bubble of the Chase for Sprint Cup on Sunday night, the 34-year-old was able to enter Victory Lane after an absolutely wild finish, effectively booking his spot in the top 16 and saving his season. 

NASCAR's Twitter feed provided a look at the celebration:

It has been a mostly disappointing year for Kahne, who started the night with zero wins and just two top-five finishes, but this will ease any of that pain. 

He talked about the win afterward, via NASCAR on ESPN:

Here's a look at the final leaderboard from Atlanta Motor Speedway:

Oral-B USA 500 Results
1Kasey KahneHendrick Motorsports
2Matt KensethJoe Gibbs Racing
3Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs Racing
4Jimmie JohnsonHendrick Motorsports
5Carl EdwardsRoush Fenway Racing
6Danica PatrickStewart-Haas Racing
7Ryan NewmanRichard Childress Racing
8Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi Racing
9Aric AlmirolaRichard Petty Motorsports
10Greg BiffleRoush Fenway Racing

Matt Kenseth finished second, but he won't mind too much, as he also clinched a spot in the Chase.

Here's a look at the updated standings:

2014 Sprint Cup Standings
1Jeff Gordon8723
2Dale Earnhardt Jr.8513
3Matt Kenseth7940
4Joey Logano7913
5Brad Keselowski7823
6Jimmie Johnson7663
7Carl Edwards7552
8Kevin Harvick7482
9Ryan Newman7470
10Greg Biffle7280
11Kasey Kahne7081
12Clint Bowyer7050
13Kyle Larson7040
14Paul Menard6750
15Austin Dillon6740
16Jamie McMurray6660

NASCAR provided an update on the outlook of the Chase grid:

It was a fun 500 miles, but things got especially wild with 26 laps to go. Kevin Harvick led for a race-high 195 laps, but a wreck involving Brad Keselowski created a massive opportunity for Kahne, who took a stranglehold of the lead and appeared to be coasting to a victory that would have saved his year.

Of course, he only had that opportunity because of a mistake on pit road by Joey Logano's team. Fox Sports' NASCAR Twitter feed explained:

Kahne was cruising, but with just two laps remaining, heartbreak happened when Kyle Busch rammed Martin Truex Jr. to force another caution and another restart. Understandably, the latter wasn't exactly thrilled about how things went down, per ESPN and Fox Sports' NASCAR Twitter feeds:

Still, it was especially devastating for Kahne, who replaced four tires and came out of pit road in fifth place. Philip Jones provided his assessment:

But there would be yet another change in the script, as a crash for Harvick forced another restart and another attempt at a green-white-checkered finish. 

With a better position, Kahne took full advantage, passing Matt Kenseth for the crazy, bizarre and completely timely win. 

Tony Stewart returned to the track for the first time since the tragic accident that took the life of driver Kevin Ward on August 9.

Stewart came out aggressive and ran as high as fourth place, but his night ended prematurely. He was forced into the wall by Busch on Lap 122, and later in the race, he blew a tire and went into the wall for a second time.

"I wish we could have had a better effort and a better finish for him," crew chief Chad Johnston told The Associated Press (via "We'll go on to Richmond, and hope we can do better there."

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Stewart completed just 170 laps on the night. 

Drivers will now head to Richmond International Raceway for the Federated Auto Parts 400. 

With one last opportunity to climb the standings or grab that all-important win to secure a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, there should be some incredibly captivating action in Virginia. 

For Kahne, though, the pressure will be off.


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