FAST START, SLOW FINISH IN SHOOTOUT
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Only a handful of laps into Saturday night's Shootout, Kasey Kahne was beginning to figure out what it took to take the lead in Daytona's unpredictable draft.
Then came the "shaking" on lap seven. Moments later, the engine in the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota gave up for good and Kahne declared: "Toast. Motor's toast." He was scored in 24th, and the team stuck around to learn that tight, two-car drafts have come to define the early portion of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway.
"We were up front," said Kahne, who started fifth. "It was just a matter of figuring out how to pass for the lead. We were working on it. We were getting closer and closer and something just gave up under the hood. We'll have to really look into it because it's way too early in the race when we have a 500-miler coming up next week."
His night lasted a little more than five minutes, but Kahne got exactly what he expected.
"And everybody was expecting the same so as soon as it went green you picked up a car - you picked your partner," Kahne said. "So it was more of a pack of two cars. I was really good with (Clint) Bowyer and then he ditched me. Then I got with Carl (Edwards) and me and Carl were actually pretty fast and we were working on passing Junior (Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and Bowyer. It's disappointing to be out this early, but hopefully we'll get it figured out and be strong next week."
"Next week" actually begins Sunday (today) with Daytona 500 qualifying, which determines the starting lineups for Thursday's 150-mile Duels.