Kahne visits Martinsville Speedway

Kahne Pleased With First Visit To Martinsville Speedway MARTINSVILLE, VA. (March 30, 2004) -- When Kasey Kahne drove through the crossover gate onto the racing surface of Martinsville Speedway Monday morning, he did a double take. The young...

Kahne Pleased With First Visit To Martinsville Speedway

MARTINSVILLE, VA. (March 30, 2004) -- When Kasey Kahne drove through the crossover gate onto the racing surface of Martinsville Speedway Monday morning, he did a double take.

The young NASCAR NEXTEL Cup rookie phenom has raced on a lot of tracks, but he had never seen anything quite like what lay in front of him.

"I've never been here. This morning was the first time I've seen it," said Kahne, who has three top-five finishes in the first six races of the 2004 season. "It's kind of a different track to get used to ... this size, this shape, this flat."

Kahne was in town with Evernham Motorsports' teammate Jeremy Mayfield on Monday, logging test laps in preparation for the April 18th running of the Advance Auto Parts 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup event at Martinsville.

Kahne returned Tuesday while Mayfield and his team opted not to return. Jeff Green was also at the track Tuesday in the Petty Enterprises Dodge, but both he and Kahne had a short day as rain brought a mid-morning halt to the test session.

Kahne has been the surprise of the season. After opening the season with a 41st in the Daytona 500, he reeled off consecutive second-place finishes at Rockingham and Las Vegas and backed those up with a third at Atlanta. He got taken out early Sunday at Bristol, wound up 40th and dropped to 11th in the points standings.

He arrived at Martinsville Monday still upset over his early Bristol exit, but that had at least one advantage. "I'm not very tired today because I didn't race that much yesterday. I wish I was a lot more tired."

Kahne spent most of Monday just getting comfortable on the short and tight Martinsville layout.

"We're working on short runs today, just trying to get the feel I'm looking for before we work on long runs. We'll work on long runs tomorrow."

And what is the "feel" Kahne was looking for?

"Just the braking and not overdriving the cars in the corners ... going real slow through the center of the corner and not overdriving going in," said Kahne, who damaged one of two cars the team had at the track in a turn-one incident on Monday.

Kahne's teammate Mayfield has logged lots of laps at Martinsville, and the younger driver didn't mind asking the veteran for a few tips.

"He's been here a lot of times and they're actually running a little better than us, so we've talked to him (Mayfield) a little bit," said Kahne.

Kahne's times improved on Tuesday, dropping into the 20.60-second range. Mayfield was a bit quicker on Monday, getting into the low 20.40s on occassions.

"We've gotten quicker, not a lot quicker, but a little bit quicker," said Kahne. "It's been a different day ... we've tried a lot of stuff and I've learned a lot.

Great seats are still available for the Advance Auto Parts 500 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup race for $40 to $72 each. To purchase tickets call the speedway ticket office toll free at 877-722-3849 or order online at www.martinsvillespeedway.com.

The Craftsman Truck Series racing action begins at 1 p.m. on April 17 when the green flag waves on the Kroger 250. Tickets for the Kroger 250 are $35 for adults and $5 for children ages 6-12. All seats are unreserved.

Martinsville Speedway's ticket office is open seven days a week, from 9 to 7 Monday through Friday; from 9 to 3 on Saturday; and from 1 to 4 on Sunday.

-martinsvillespeedway.com

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Green , Kasey Kahne