RICHMOND RECAP: Most recently, Kasey Kahne finished 21st and on the lead lap at the .75-mile Richmond (Va.) International Raceway after being involved in a late-race incident on April 27. He now ranks third in the driver standings and trails leader and teammate Jimmie Johnson by 46 points.
TIME WARNER CABLE: Time Warner Cable will adorn the hood of Kahne’s No. 5 Chevrolet SS this weekend at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and will be the primary sponsor on the car for three more Sprint Cup Series events this year: Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on May 11, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 26 and Kansas Speedway on Oct. 6. Kahne welcomed Time Warner Cable on the hood of his No. 5 Chevy for the first time at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Sprint Cup Series event on Oct. 13, 2012.
SEASON-TO-DATE: In the first nine races this season, Kahne ranks second with 230 of the fastest laps run and an average ranking of 6.889 while running in traffic. He ranks third in green-flag speed with an average ranking of 5.5. Kahne’s 101.6 driver rating is fourth-best as are his 223 laps led. The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS has scored five top-10 results in the last seven Sprint Cup races. His average start in nine starts is 8.9, and his average finish is 11.7.
KAHNE AT TALLADEGA: In 18 Sprint Cup starts at Talladega, Kahne has recorded three top-five finishes, four top-10s and has led 49 laps at the high-banked oval. Most recently, he won the pole position there in October 2012 and went on to finish 12th. In this race one year ago, he crossed the finish line fourth after lining up fifth.
SUPERSPEEDWAY STATS: In 37 starts at the restrictor-plate tracks of Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Kahne has recorded a combined five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He recorded back-to-back seventh-place finishes in the Daytona 500 in 2007 and 2008 and two runner-up finishes in the fall races at Talladega in 2006 and 2009. Three of Kahne’s 15 career wins happened on tracks two miles or longer — Fontana, Calif., Michigan International Speedway and Pocono Raceway.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-768 for Sunday’s event at Talladega. Most recently, Kahne drove this chassis to earn the sixth starting spot in the 2013 Daytona 500.
TALLADEGA DOUBLE: In addition to his duties behind the wheel of the No. 5 Time Warner Cable Chevrolet SS this weekend, Kahne will pilot JR Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevrolet in the 311.22-mile NASCAR event on Saturday. In four previous starts at the superspeedway, Kahne has qualified inside the top 10 three times including an outside pole position in 2003.
SEASON-TO-DATE: Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Johnson headline two categories apiece inside NASCAR’s season-to-date loop data. Earnhardt is the league’s best closer right now with an average improvement of 2.9 positions in the last 10 percent of each race (26 total), and he also has a league-best 478 quality passes, which tallies the times he has passed a car inside the top 15. Johnson owns a series-best 7.2 average finish and has posted 234 fastest laps to rank first in that category.
TOP 10 LOOP: The Hendrick Motorsports quartet of Cup drivers ranks inside the top eight for average running position after the first nine events of the 2013 season. With a 7.1 average running position, Johnson ranks second. Kahne ranks third with 11.9, Earnhardt is seventh with 12.5, and Jeff Gordon is eighth with 12.7.
HENDRICK AT TALLADEGA: In 58 events (186 starts) at Talladega, Hendrick Motorsports has 11 wins, 47 top-five finishes and 70 top-10s. Seven of the organization’s wins have happened after its drivers started the race ninth or better. In the team’s most recent Talladega win, Earnhardt pushed Johnson to Victory Lane in April 2011. Johnson, the outside pole sitter, matched the closest margin of victory recorded — .002 seconds — since the use of electronic scoring.
STARTER POWER: Of its eight Talladega pole positions, Hendrick Motorsports has recorded six during the last seven Cup events at the 2.66-mile oval. In April 2011, the organization qualified a team-best 1-2-3-4, becoming just the third team in Sprint Cup history to qualify in the first four starting positions. This feat previously was accomplished by owner Pete DePaolo in 1956 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway and Jack Roush in 2005 at Auto Club Speedway.
KASEY KAHNE, DRIVER, NO. 5 TIME WARNER CABLE CHEVROLET SS (ON HIS PASSION FOR RACING.): “I race. That’s all I really want to do is race cars. I’ve been able to my whole life, and I enjoy it. I love every bit of it. To be able to think about racing or some aspect of the sport each week whether we’re doing appearances or testing or whatever it may be — it’s great. And then you get to go and race a Sprint Cup car on Saturday or Sunday from here until the end of November; I’m loving what’s going on.”
KENNY FRANCIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 TIME WARNER CABLE CHEVROLET SS (ON THE GEN-6 CAR AND HOW IT SUITS KAHNE’S DRIVING STYLE.): “The Gen-6 car is different in a number of ways. Visually, it’s a lot more stylish, but there’s a lot of things under the body that are different than what we used to race. One of the biggest things is it’s lighter and has a little more left-side weight, which is always good in a circle track car, and I think that makes the car a little more responsive. This tends to fit Kasey’s style a little bit better. He likes the car to be really responsive. So we feel like the lower weight, which is one of the new rules, is a good thing for us.”