RICHMOND RECAP: Most recently, Kasey Kahne finished 14th at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Sept. 7 and qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup by virtue of a Wild Card spot. Entering the Richmond race weekend, Kahne already had clinched one of the Wild Card spots based on his two wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup regular season.
CHASE STANDINGS: Kahne, 33, will open the 2013 Chase at Chicagoland Speedway as the 11th seed in the championship standings. He trails first-place driver Matt Kenseth by 15 points. This is Kahne’s fourth career Chase appearance. In 2012, his first year with Hendrick Motorsports, he notched a career-best fourth-place result.
SEASON-TO-DATE: In the first 26 Sprint Cup races this season, Kahne ranks first in the following categories: fastest laps run (653), green flag speed (6.158 average ranking) and the fastest speed in traffic (5.769 average ranking). He notably ranks second-best in the fastest drivers early in a run (6.895) and fastest drivers late in a run (7.632) categories. His 98.2 driver rating is fourth-best as are his 466 laps led. Kahne’s average start this season is 11.0, and his average finish is 16.2.
KAHNE AT CHICAGOLAND: In nine Sprint Cup starts at Chicagoland, Kahne has two top-five finishes and three top-10s. He has an average finish of sixth in the last four Cup events at Chicago, including two third-place finishes in 2009 and 2012.
CHICAGOLAND LOOP DATA: In the last eight Sprint Cup Series races at Chicagoland, Kahne ranks as the best closer, moving up through the field at an average of 2.4 positions for a total of 19 spots in the last 10 percent of each race, according to NASCAR loop data. He also ranks ninth in fastest laps run (74).
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 165 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. 5-809 for Sunday’s event at Chicagoland. Kahne drove this car to a third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July. Most recently, he finished seventh while driving this car at Michigan International Speedway in August.
HENDRICK AT CHICAGO: In 12 races (50 Cup starts) at Chicagoland, Hendrick Motorsports has two wins, 18 top-five finishes and 25 top-10s. Jeff Gordon earned Hendrick Motorsports’ first Cup win at the racetrack in 2006.
KASEY KAHNE, DRIVER, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS (ON THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING FOCUSED DURING THE CHASE FOR THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP.): “The pressure’s on you each week from the driver to the team to the pit guys on Sundays. It’s a tough part of the season, but it’s what we’re all here for, too — to step up when it really counts and make things happen. I know we have a really strong team. If we can run strong the next few weeks, I think we’ll be in a really good spot. We just need to try and put those final 10 races together. That’s what it’s all about.”
KAHNE (ON THE TEAM’S CHANCE TO WIN THE 2013 CHAMPIONSHIP.): “I would say the majority of the season we’ve had as much speed as anybody, and if we can put that together for nine or 10 of these next 10 races, we’ll definitely have a shot.”