Kahne to make NCTS debut in Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge at Darlington MOORESVILLE, NC (November 8, 2004)-NASCAR Nextel Cup rookie sensation Kasey Kahne will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut in the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge this...
Kahne to make NCTS debut in Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge at Darlington
MOORESVILLE, NC (November 8, 2004)-NASCAR Nextel Cup rookie sensation Kasey Kahne will make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut in the No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge this Friday night in the Darlington 200 at Darlington Raceway. Kahne currently leads the battle for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Raybestos Rookie of the Year Award. He is still looking for his first win of the season and he can think of no better place to get it than Darlington, the track that is "too tough to tame."
"I'd really like to win at Darlington," Kahne said. "I like the surface. The track is difficult to drive. It's real narrow and slippery. It's just an exciting and fun racetrack. You've got to be on top of it all day long. It's a driver's track."
Kahne knows that his first year of NASCAR Nextel Cup competition has been a huge success. If he is unable to capture a win in the last two races of the season, he will be disappointed but at least he knows that his Evernham Motorsports team is capable of running upfront. The 24-year-old driver from Enuclaw, Wash., has scored five runner-up finishes in 2004 and ranks 13th in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup standings.
"We'll be disappointed because we know we can win races, but at the same time we've had races taken away from us, Kahne said. "I don't think we'd be as disappointed if we'd never run up front and never came close to winning. We've come close a lot of times to winning. We had a dominant car at Dover, Charlotte, several times this year. We had a dominating car at Texas. We had to start eighth in line with 30 laps to go and we ran second by a foot. That's a dominating racecar. We had it a lot of times. We just never capitalized on it and never made it to the end. We're just going to try to keep qualifying up front and finishing the races. We'll be in the mix to win."
Kahne has posted consecutive fifth place finishes in Cup competition at Atlanta and Phoenix over the past two weeks. He waged a spirited duel in the desert with fellow NASCAR Nextel Cup driver and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series owner Kevin Harvick on Sunday in Phoenix.
"That was pretty exciting," Kahne said following the event. "There was a lot of beating and banging at the end. It was a pretty good run for us. I don't know what happened (with Kevin Harvick). Yesterday we were kind of bumping around out there. He was laughing and we were all having fun with it. It was kind of the same thing today. He pushed me all over the track. I didn't ever get close to him. I don't know why he was mad."
One additional reason for Kahne to want to take the Ultra Motorsports prepared Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge to victory lane is to give him another chance to secure a haircut for his younger brother Kale. Kale Kahne has pledged not to cut his hair until his brother wins a race, and perhaps a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race win would suffice.
"His hair is pretty long, but I think it looks fine," Kasey said. "I guess I need to win one of these so he doesn't have to go through the winter without getting it cut. He'll probably end up cutting it either way. We hang out all the time. He's 21 and I'm 24. Whenever he's home we hang out, but he's gone almost as much as I am driving the motorhome. A lot of the time he's home, I'm gone and the opposite. It makes it fun. It makes the weekends at the track more fun to have him around. His hair has always been short. If you look at pictures of him from Daytona in February, it's short. Mine gets long, too, but I'll cut it after a little while."
Kahne has a solid lead in his quest for the NASCAR Raybestos Rookie of the Year crown. Winning that award has been one of his Evernham Motorsports team's goals from the outset of the season.
"We've got a pretty good lead over Brendan (Gaughan) and Brian (Vickers), and we've led it most of the season, so it would be a shame if something happens and we don't win it now," Kahne said. "It was a goal all season long, and unless something crazy happens, I think we're in good shape to win it. I've learned a lot this year running for Ray Evernham and Tommy Baldwin, and if we don't win a race this season, it'll be a shame, but we'll get geared up in the offseason and try to have a good sophomore season like Ryan Newman did last year."
The Darlington 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event is slated for Friday night under the lights at Darlington Raceway. The race will be broadcast live on the Speed Channel, MRN Radio and XM Satellite Radio at 8:00pm ET.