Updated: March 18, 2013, 12:54 PM ET

Kahne's First Sprint Cup Win At Bristol

Sprint Cup: Bristol doesn't disappoint

By Terry Blount | ESPN.com

You know the old joke: I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.

Well, here's a little Bristol twist on it: I went to a fight and a race broke out.

And it was a good one. Not the post-race fight. The little Joey Logano-Denny Hamlin feud was relatively lame. But the race, ending in a Kasey Kahne victory, was the best Bristol Motor Speedway show in years.

Bristol is back, although maybe not quite the way it once was. Those demo derby days probably are gone for good.

But the Sprint Cup event Sunday at Thunder Valley was the best race of the season. It had a little bit of everything -- banged-up sheet metal, blown tires, crashed cars, a bump-and-run, some angry moments and side-by-side battles near the front down the stretch.

It's a shame the grandstands had so many empty seats, but this was the type of race that can bring people back. The new Gen-6 was a hit, although the car doesn't make much difference on the tiny half-mile oval at Bristol.

Being at Hendrick Motorsports is making a difference for Kahne. Sunday was his first career win at Bristol, coming one week after his second-place showing at Las Vegas.

"Absolutely, this is a big win," Kahne said. "It's a really big accomplishment to win here. This is a tough place. It's been a tough track for me at times, but we pulled it off. I have always wanted to win a Cup race here. To finally do it feels really good."

Now in his second season at Hendrick, it appears Kahne and crew chief Kenny Francis are ready to seriously contend for the championship.

"I love racing for Hendrick Motorsports with Rick Hendrick and the opportunity he gives us," Kahne said. "This whole team was flawless again. It's been a lot of fun. We just keep learning and getting better together because we have a great team here."

Kahne's accomplishment was overshadowed at the end by the post-race scuffle when Logano went to confront his former teammate, Hamlin.

Logano was not happy about Hamlin using the chrome horn to send Logano's car into the wall. Logano stuck his head in Hamlin window after the race and told Hamlin payback was coming. A pushing and shoving match broke out briefly between the crew members.

The two drivers had a Twitter spat two weeks ago.

"It's ridiculous," Logano said. "I race him clean all the time. I understand the way he's racing me now that he's not my teammate. I will race him the same way."

If you went to Bristol to see a fight, you got it. But a race broke out that made the legendary Tennessee short track a pretty entertaining show.

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer

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