Daytona II: Kasey Kahne preview

KASEY KAHNE QUOTES "It should be fun (heading back to Daytona). It's always been an exciting race to watch and to be a part of the Pepsi 400 will be really neat. Our engines are awesome, and it seems like they get better every week. We had...

KASEY KAHNE QUOTES

"It should be fun (heading back to Daytona). It's always been an exciting race to watch and to be a part of the Pepsi 400 will be really neat. Our engines are awesome, and it seems like they get better every week. We had a problem in that first race with an engine part, but other than that we should have a good race this weekend. I like night racing. It's fun at Daytona because of the lights and the people. Racing the Busch car this weekend will be good to be back in it at the same track.

"There's a lot of pressure and a lot of fun qualifying at certain tracks, but at Daytona you've got what you've got and you try to make it go faster around the track. I think the way the Busch Series is doing it this weekend (practice, Happy Hour and then qualifying on the same day) is a pretty cool way to do it at a superspeedway."

STATS & FACTS

KASEY KAHNE AT DAYTONA

* This weekend will mark the first time that Kahne will re-visit a racetrack in his No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge. He started 27th and finished 41st in this year's Daytona 500.

* Kahne has made four starts at Daytona in the Busch series, with a top finish of eighth and top qualifying effort of second in February last year. He started ninth and finished 43rd this year.

WELL BLOW ME DOWN!

* Race fans everywhere will share in the celebration of Popeye The Sailor Man, one of the most recognizable icons of the 20th century, as he celebrates his 75th birthday in 2004. During the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup night race at Daytona International Speedway, Evernham Motorsports drivers Jeremy Mayfield and Kasey Kahne will drive special-edition Dodge Dealers/UAW/Popeye Dodges featuring imagery culled from assorted Popeye comic strips.

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.

ADDING UP THE POINTS

* After racing in Sonoma last weekend, Kahne moves to 12th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points standings. He is 83 points out of the top 10, and 177 points out of the top five. After 16 races, Kahne maintains a commanding 46-point lead in the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year standings.

LAST WEEKEND AT SONOMA

* Kahne, hot off a come-from-behind second place finish at Michigan last weekend, started the day in the 30th position and worked throughout the weekend to learn all the tricks and turns of Infineon Raceway. Bill Elliott was on hand during Saturday's practice sessions to help him navigate the 11 turns on the 1.99 mile track. Kahne quickly found that, not only was he battling back from the rear of the field, he was battling a stiff back. This made handling the twists and turns of the race course even more difficult, and Kahne had to balance aggressively driving the track and protecting his aching back. He worked his way up to the 11th position just after the mid-point of the race and was focused on bringing home a top-10 finish. But he spun between turns one and two, brought his Dodge in for tires and fuel, and shuffled back in the field. He finished 31st.

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 Bill Elliott , Jeremy Mayfield , Ryan Newman , Kasey Kahne