LAS VEGAS RECAP: Most recently, Kahne dominated the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 10. The 32-year-old driver lined up fourth, led a race-high 114 laps and recorded his second runner-up result at the 1.5-mile track. Kahne was the biggest mover in the standings after the race, climbing 17 spots to 14th in the driver standings.
SPEEDING FOR A CURE: On Tuesday evening, Kahne will join other NASCAR drivers and personalities as they team up with Autism Speaks for “Speeding for a Cure” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The special gala benefiting the autism community will be hosted by ESPN commentator Mike Tirico and will help raise funds and awareness for Autism Speaks and Gillen Brewer School, which specializes in educating children with challenging and often multiple disabilities.
GREAT CLIPS: Great Clips will adorn the hood of Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway. The Minneapolis-based company will be the primary sponsor on the No. 5 Chevrolet for two more NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races this year: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (July 28) and New Hampshire Motor Speedway (Sept. 22). This season marks the first full year for Great Clips with Hendrick Motorsports and its 11th with Kahne.
KAHNE AT BRISTOL: In 18 Sprint Cup starts at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kahne has one pole position, three top-five finishes, seven top-10s and has led a total of 347 laps. He earned his best finish at the short track in August 2007 when he started from the pole position and finished second. Most recently at the .533-mile short track in August 2012, Kahne led 42 laps and crossed the finish line ninth.
BRISTOL LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR loop data during the last 16 Sprint Cup Series races at Bristol, Kahne ranks second in the closers category by improving 19 positions in the last 10 percent of laps in each race. He also ranks seventh in green-flag passes (716), eighth in laps led (347) and ninth in fastest laps run (285).
SHORT TRACK STATS: Kahne’s one short track victory happened at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway in 2005. Kahne started from the pole and dominated the race, leading 242 of 400 laps. He finished 12th in his most recent short track start at Richmond in September 2012. Kahne has nine top-five finishes and 17 top-10s in 54 starts on tracks less than one mile in length.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-769 for Sunday’s event at Bristol. Kahne last raced this car March 3 at Phoenix International Raceway, where he recorded his first outside pole position of the 2013 season.
SEASON-TO-DATE: In the first three events of the Cup season, Kahne leads all drivers with an average starting position of fourth. The driver of the No. 5 Chevy also ranks seventh with a driver rating of 94.4 among 2013 Cup drivers and sits second with 69 fastest laps posted.
HENDRICK AT BRISTOL: In 58 Cup events (183 starts) at Bristol, Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins, 46 top-five finishes, 82 top-10s and 11 pole positions. Jeff Gordon is tied for first among active drivers with five wins at the track, while Johnson most recently went to Victory Lane there for the organization in March 2010.
SHORT TRACK POWER: Among active drivers at tracks less than one mile in length, Hendrick Motorsports ranks atop the competition in wins and laps led; Gordon is first in both categories with 17 victories and 7,891 laps led. Gordon sits second with 61 top-five finishes (Terry Labonte has 62 among active drivers); and Gordon also ranks second with 18 pole positions (Mark Martin has 19 at tracks less than a mile in length). Heritage trivia? When it comes to racing at Bristol, Labonte earned his most recent top-five result (March 2000) at Bristol driving the No. 5 Chevy, while Martin powered the Hendrick Motorsports machine to his most recent pole there in August 2009.
KASEY KAHNE, DRIVER, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS (ON HOW THE NEW GEN-6 CAR WILL HANDLE AT BRISTOL.): “It will change racing up a little bit, but that track is so unique and so different and knowing how we race there, you’ll probably still have that similar race that we’ve had in the past. That’s just one unique place when you have 43 cars on that small of a racetrack with that much banking.”
KENNY FRANCIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS (ON HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH KASEY KAHNE.): “All we really know is each other. We’ve been together for a long time. He’s the only driver I’ve had for a while now. Kasey and I do kind of communicate by osmosis sometimes it seems like. Between Kasey, myself and my engineer Keith Rodden, we’ve all been together for a number of years. We can even look at each other and tell what we’re thinking or what’s going on. If you listen to our radio, you don’t hear a whole lot. We don’t talk a whole lot. It’s probably frustrating for people to try to scan us and figure out what we’re doing because we don’t talk much. We have a pretty good relationship, and we’re all kind of quiet people by nature so we might not use a lot of words, but it has a lot of meaning.”