BRISTOL RECAP: Most recently, Kasey Kahne earned runner-up honors at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway after contending for the victory at the historic short track. Kahne, winner of the March 2013 race at Bristol, cleanly fought for the lead in the closing laps, but time wasn’t on his side. He left the 500-lap event with a second-place finish and improved to eighth in the driver standings. He has a 20-point advantage over the 11th-place driver.
SEASON-TO-DATE: In the first 24 Sprint Cup races this season, Kahne ranks first with 646 of the fastest laps run and the fastest speed in traffic (5.458 average ranking). He notably ranks second-best in the following categories: green flag speed (5.556 average ranking); fastest drivers early in a run (6.278) and fastest drivers late in a run (7.000). His 101.2 driver rating is fourth-best as are his 466 laps led. Kahne’s average start this season is 10.5, and his average finish is 15.4.
KAHNE AT ATLANTA: In 16 Sprint Cup starts at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Kahne has two wins, six top-five finishes and eight top-10s. The driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS also has two pole positions at the 1.54-mile oval. Atlanta ranks tied as Kahne’s second-best track in career wins — he also has two wins at Pocono Raceway. His average starting spot of 9.2 at Atlanta ranks him third among active drivers there.
CHEVROLET MAKING STRIDES: Kahne will join Team Chevy to support the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” initiative this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS will run laps in the pace car with survivors and participate in a question-and-answer session. Chevrolet will donate $200 to the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” initiative for every lap run under caution during the Sprint Cup race at Atlanta.
ATLANTA LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR loop data during the last 14 Sprint Cup races at Atlanta, Kahne ranks seventh in fastest laps run (234). His 324 laps led during the same time rank him sixth among the competition.
INTERMEDIATE STATS: Kahne has collected nine of his 16 career Cup wins and 15 of his 26 pole positions on tracks one-to-two miles in length. In 164 starts on tracks one-to-two miles in length, he has posted 39 top-five finishes and 67 top-10s.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-779 for Sunday night’s event at Atlanta. Kahne has driven this car four times this season and averaged a 12.5 finish. He notably led 66 laps in this car and won at Pocono Raceway in August. He also led 114 laps in this chassis in March en route to a runner-up result at Las Vegas and later scored an 11th-place finish one month later at Texas Motor Speedway.
TIRE TREAD: Goodyear is planning to use a new right-side tire for this weekend’s Cup event at Atlanta. The left-side tires will be the same ones the Cup series used in the 2012 Atlanta event, but the right ones will utilize zone tread technology. Two-thirds of the tire will be based on the previous tires used in Atlanta and will provide grip, while the remaining third will utilize tread similar to what was used at Michigan earlier this month. The mixture is designed to counteract heat produced from the high speeds. In early August, Kahne tested the new tire with his No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team at the 1.54-mile track in preparation for this weekend’s race.
ATLANTA DOUBLE DUTY: In addition to his duties behind the wheel of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Atlanta, Kahne will pilot JR Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevrolet in the 300.3-mile NASCAR event on Saturday evening.
HENDRICK AT ATLANTA: Hendrick Motorsports has 11 wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway, which ranks the organization second all-time to the Wood Brothers (12 victories). Jeff Gordon, who won the 2011 event at the 1.54-mile oval, is eyeing his sixth career win at the track. A victory would help Gordon’s chances in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. His Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Kahne also have reached Victory Lane at Atlanta within the last nine years (16 events).
KASEY KAHNE, DRIVER, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS (ON WHAT IT’S LIKE RACING AT ATLANTA.): “Since the first time I went there, Atlanta has always been one of my favorite racetracks. It kind of reminds me of racing at Eldora Speedway. When you run the outside at Atlanta right up by the wall, it feels really similar to racing a dirt track in a winged sprint car. I like that feeling you get — that sensation of being beside the wall. And then the tires fall off, and it gets really slippery. Atlanta is just fast and rough. You have a lot of things you’re kind of working through throughout a race run and just trying to get the balance of the car to be good throughout 45-48 laps. It’s tough to get it right. I’ve just always liked racing there, it’s a good one.”
KENNY FRANCIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS (ON WHAT TO EXPECT WITH THE NEW GOODYEAR TIRE AT ATLANTA.): “The new tire for Atlanta seemed to handle like the old tire, and it seemed like it was a little more durable so that will be a good thing. We will still see the typical high tire wear and lap time degradation that we normally see at Atlanta due to the tire losing grip as it gets hot and wears out. Getting the car to handle over the course of a tire run will be as important as always.”