Chicagoland: Kasey Kahne preview

KASEY KAHNE QUOTES "This week at Chicago, we have to really get after it. We had a good first half of the season for a rookie team, but the second half of the season we've got to really get after it to get in the top 10. It's something I think...

KASEY KAHNE QUOTES

"This week at Chicago, we have to really get after it. We had a good first half of the season for a rookie team, but the second half of the season we've got to really get after it to get in the top 10. It's something I think about all the time. We had a goal to finish in the top 15 in the points and get the Raybestos Rookie of the Year. We started running so well, we know we can get in the top 15 if we do things right every week. We just need to do things right and we'll get in the top 10. Right now, we're trying hard and we're working hard, but we don't deserve to be in the top 10 in the points.

"There's definitely going to be more and more pressure as the season goes on. It's going to create some pretty wild, crazy racing. I imagine some stuff is going to be going on in the next few races you wouldn't normally see this early in the season. I'd say there might be some of that (desperate moves) going on."

STATS & FACTS

KASEY KAHNE AT CHICAGO

* This weekend will mark Kahne's first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start at Chicagoland Speedway.

* Kahne has made two starts at Chicago in the Busch series, with a top finish of 25th, earned in 2002. He earned his top qualifying effort of 18th in 2003, where he finished 28th.

FAST ON FRIDAYS

* Kahne earned his series-leading fourth pole (Las Vegas, Darlington, California, Pocono) and his second track qualifying record (Las Vegas, Pocono) at Pocono.

* Evernham Motorsports has set three track qualifying records this season (Kahne -- Las Vegas and Pocono, Mayfield -- Dover).

* Kahne, with four poles in 2004 is well on his way to challenging Ryan Newman's record six poles in a rookie season.

* Kahne tied Art Watts (1957) for the quickest any driver has reached four career poles -- 14 races.

GETTING OUT FRONT

* Kahne's 339 laps led are more than five times the combined amount of laps led by the five other 2004 Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates.

ADDING UP THE POINTS

* After racing in Daytona last weekend, Kahne moves to 11th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points standings. He is 111 points out of the top 10, and 205 points out of the top five. After 17 races, Kahne maintains a commanding 43-point lead in the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year standings.

LAST WEEKEND AT DAYTONA

* Kahne qualified 31st after a lap of 48.368 seconds, 186.073 mph. But, an incident in Friday's practice sent Kahne's Dodge into another car, and sent the Dew Crew to prepare the backup car. Tommy Baldwin and the Dew Crew worked at a frenetic pace to get the new car, which had never been raced, ready before practice ended. They succeeded in getting Kahne back on track to get a feel for the car and provide the team feedback to prepare the car for the Pepsi 400. Unfortunately, Kahne had to start at the rear of the field due to the car change. But, when he got out of sequence on an early pit stop, he found himself leading the field, a move worth five bonus points. As the cars cycled through the caution, Kahne returned to the 39th position and began working his way through the field. His Dodge was experiencing handling problems, and Tommy Baldwin and the Dew Crew made air pressure and track bar adjustments to correct the problems. As the laps wound down, Baldwin chose to take two tires on the last two pit stops to gain track position, a move that delivered a few important finishing spots. Kahne finished 25th on the day, and completed his first superspeedway race in a Nextel Cup car.

GIVE ME FIVE!

* Kahne's string of three top-fives in his first four career starts made him the first driver to accomplish the feat in more than 40 years of NASCAR racing. Most recently, Curley Barker notched three top-fives in his first four Grand National starts from May to September of 1963.

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Ryan Newman , Kasey Kahne , Tommy Baldwin