Richmond: Round 10 preview

Kasey Kahne Returns To Site Of First NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Victory DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 2, 2006) -- Kasey Kahne's resurgent 2006 season can be traced to a breakthrough run in the spring of 2005. A year ago at Richmond International Raceway, ...

Kasey Kahne Returns To Site Of First NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Victory

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (May 2, 2006) -- Kasey Kahne's resurgent 2006 season can be traced to a breakthrough run in the spring of 2005.

A year ago at Richmond International Raceway, Kahne (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) temporarily silenced critics by claiming his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup victory. In retrospect, it was a clear preview of the cooler, consistent style Kahne has used this season to emerge as a championship contender.

With two victories thus far in the season's first nine races, Kahne comes into Saturday night's Crown Royal 400 fourth in the series points, in good early-season shape to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the 10-race championship battle that covers the season's last 10 races, a battle Kahne has missed the last two years.

"Yeah, I think there is a different mind set [for our team]," Kahne said Tuesday. "Last year, all I wanted to do was to try to win races. I didn't even think about points half the time. Basically all I thought about was winning and that was the wrong approach.

"This year, it's more about making sure we finish every race, being consistent, getting the car to drive really well in practice, and having better cars in the race. And that's what I've focused on ... just being consistent and finishing. Those are the main things this year."

Kahne's two wins this season have come at Atlanta and Texas. But this weekend will mark his first time as a defending race champion.

"You know, going back to this race ... is big," Kahne said. "You'd love to do it two years in a row. I know things are going to be a lot different this year. We tested there and the setup that we ran last year was two seconds off the pace. It wasn't even where we needed to be. So we had to do a lot of work to figure out a new combination, and hopefully we'll have that when we go back and be able to put up a good fight."

Kahne was involved in an early-race accident at Talladega Superspeedway on Monday, during the Aaron's 499. He will be required to receive medical clearance prior to testing Wednesday at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.

"I feel good," Kahne said. "I'm meeting with [a doctor] in the morning and I talked to him this morning. Everything sounds good. I will test [Wednesday]."

-nascar-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kasey Kahne