CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kasey Kahne’s car was wobbling as he raced side-by-side with Erik Jones through the final turn. They crossed the finish line and it was so close Kahne wasn’t sure who won.
The scoreboard and video replay gave the win to Kahne in the second-closet finish in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series history.
Kahne’s victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Friday night — by 0.005 seconds — gave Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s new trucks team its first victory and left Jones fuming after a second straight heartbreaking finish
“I didn’t know who won,” Kahne said as Earnhardt sat next to him in the winner’s press conference. “It was super close.”
An hour after the race, NASCAR announced Kahne’s truck failed inspection for being too low in the front on both sides and too high on the right rear. Any penalties will be announced next week, clouding a remarkable finish.
Kahne, a Sprint Cup regular, nudged ahead of Jones on the final turn of a green-white-checkered finish that included some bumping and snuck across the line a few feet ahead of Jones.
The 18-year-old Jones led 88 of 134 laps. A week ago at Kansas, Jones also led the most laps but ran out of gas late.
“The fastest truck loses the race two weeks in a row,” Jones said.
Points leader Matt Crafton was third, followed by Tyler Reddik and Brad Keselowski.
Jones appeared to have the race won before Daniel Hemric spun out, leading to a caution moments before Jones was to take the white flag.
“I can’t believe that the lapped cars can’t just let us finish the race,” Jones said.
On the restart, Jones and Kahne raced side by side for the entire lap, making contact around the final turn before Kahne’s No. 00 Chevrolet nosed across the line. It wasn’t clear who won with the naked eye, with NASCAR officials depending on the scoring system and a video replay.
“We got that last yellow to give us one more shot at it,” Earnhardt said. “I was over in Turn 1 and 2 watching, and coming off Turn 2, Kasey was really, really loose.
“But he knew he couldn’t come off the throttle or he would lose an opportunity to stay on the quarter panel of the 4. That was a major commitment right there.”
The closest Truck Series finish was at Talladega in 2010 when Kyle Busch beat Aric Almirola by 0.002 seconds.
This time, Busch was on the other end. On the same day he returned to the track in Sprint Cup practice following his crash at Daytona, Jones couldn’t deliver Kyle Busch Motorsports a victory in the No. 4 Toyota.
It was Kahne’s first Truck Series race since he won at Rockingham in 2012. He’s won five of six career truck starts.
Kahne qualified first and Jones second, but both started from the rear of at the field after Kahne’s team changed the shocks on his truck and Jones missed the driver meeting.
It took Jones one lap to move to 14th and he dominated for large stretches.
Jones, who raced to his first Xfinity Series victory last month and finished 40th in his first Sprint Cup start last week at Kansas, moved to second in the standings — 16 points behind Crafton.
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