Kasey Kahne was on track fighting for the million dollars in the NASCAR All-Star race only to see it slip away on some speedy dry. This week NASCAR and Kasey Kahne get back to business at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600.
The Charlotte Motor Speedway is one of the faster of the 1.5 mile speedways. The speed comes from the 24 degrees of banking in the corners. This race is one of the most prestigious of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule. It is also the longest race of the season at 600 miles or 400 laps. If the length of the race isn’t enough the race also is a test of crew chief because it starts during the day and finishes at night. The driver and team who can keep up with the changes in the track while still staying at the front will win this race.
The driver ratings for this track shouldn’t be a surprise to any NASCAR fan. Jimmie Johnson has a commanding rating of 111.1 and has won six times. This of course used to be the house of Johnson but he hasn’t won here since 2009 and his record streak ended in 2005.
Kyle Busch is next in the driver ratings at 107.5. Great stats but Busch hasn’t been able to make those stats work for him for a whole race and win at Charlotte.
The next driver by driver ratings is Kasey Kahne at 102.6. His rating, though not as high as Johnson’s, are still pretty good. He has four wins, the most recent coming in this race in 2012.
Kasey Kahne and his crew chief Kenny Francis have not been getting it done this season. This hasn’t been lost on them. They have been working diligently at fixing it. They think they figured out something during the Kansas race.
“Well we had to really sit down and talk about things together and get back on the same page. There were a lot of things we were thinking differently on the first six to seven weeks of the year.” Kahne added, “We have spent a lot more time the last month and a half together and figuring this out than what we had early in the year when we were maybe thinking different directions and things with the car, adjustments and set-up’s for each track. I feel like our relationship is still really good and because we have that we have been able to figure it out and do enough testing and things to get back on track.”
It is apparent that something is working. A third place finish at Kansas plus wining two of the four segments in the All-Star race they have definitely improved. They are going to need better communication for this race more than any other.
Kahne said, “Patience. I think you have to have patience. Last year, I enjoyed leading when it was sunny out and leading at night so just being able to find that balance, work with it, work with your car, communicate well and work with the team throughout the whole race is key. And then you need the team to step up, too. We need to have great pit stops, and we need a great car when we start the race. If we have all that, we’ll have a shot to win our fourth 600.”
Here are some other stories in the race to watch. Kurt Busch will be running in the Indianapolis 500 before the Coca-Cola 600. He is the first driver to race in all 1100 miles of racing, the double as it’s called since John Andretti in 2007.
Look for special car paint schemes in honor of our veterans for Memorial Day.
Kasey Kahne is currently 16th in points but just out of the Chase. He wants to become the 10th new winner and race his way into the Chase for the Sprint Cup. He is off to a great start by qualifying for the third spot.
If you cannot get to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 it will be broadcast live on FOX on Sunday May 25th starting at 5:30 PM.
Feature Photo Credit HHP/Alan Marler for Chevrolet
Top 10 Driver Ratings at Charlotte
Jimmie Johnson 111.1
Kyle Busch 107.5
Kasey Kahne 102.6
Matt Kenseth 96.0
Denny Hamlin 93.4
Greg Biffle 91.4
Carl Edwards 89.8
Jeff Gordon 88.8
Joey Logano 87.3
Kurt Busch 84.7
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Charlotte Motor Speedway.