NASCAR's Kahne runs sprints during off week

The NASCAR Busch Series enjoyed a weekend off, however, Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 38 Great Clips Ford, didn't miss a chance to get back to his dirt track roots. Not only did Kahne compete in the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup in ...

The NASCAR Busch Series enjoyed a weekend off, however, Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 38 Great Clips Ford, didn't miss a chance to get back to his dirt track roots.

Not only did Kahne compete in the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup in Alger, Washington, but he also made sprint car history in front of 8,000 fans Saturday night when he became the first Washington native to win back-to-back titles in the 32-year history of the event. Kahne also claimed the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup title in 2002.

"It was more of a surprise to win it this year," said Kahne. "It was tougher this year, so it was much more fun to win. The first two or three rows had really good drivers, so I knew it was going to be tough from the start of the race. Plus, Tim Shaffer was on the front row with me, and he's a tough competitor.

"I was really excited that I got my second Dirt Cup Title, mainly because I was able to do it at home in front of friends and family. It just made it so much better to have everyone there."

Kahne is one of only three local drivers to ever win the prestigious event. The other two to accomplish the feat were Ross Fontes in 1972 and Bobby Burrow in 1992.

Saturday's event saw Kahne lead all 40 laps of the Race of Champions at Skagit Speedway before taking the checkered flag and a $20,000 check.

"The first half of the race was really tough, just trying to go through traffic. By the second half I figured out a different line to run and I was able to get through traffic better."

Not only did Kahne enjoy a full weekend of racing in his home state, but he also broke his own track record that was set at Dirt Cup 2002 and captured the Franz Fast Time Award Thursday and Friday nights.

The NASCAR Busch Series does not have another off weekend until August, and while some might have needed a weekend of relaxation, Kahne would not have it any other way. He is already planning to race The Historical Big One at Eldora Speedway on his next off weekend (August 7-9) followed by the Knoxville Nationals (August 13-15) the following week prior to the NASCAR Busch Series race at Michigan International Speedway.

"I don't get very many chances to race outside of the Busch Series with the schedule being so demanding. When I do get a chance to run sprint races, then I do whatever it takes. The Knoxville Nationals and The Historical Big One are two of the biggest races, so I'm not going to miss them."

Kahne will get back on track this weekend in the NASCAR Busch Series in the GNC Live Well 250 at The Milwaukee Mile on Sunday, June 29. He currently sits 12th in the overall NASCAR Busch Series points standings with one top-five and six top-10 finishes after 16 events.

-pprp-

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Series Sprint
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Kasey Kahne