Kahne Stays in Red Hot Ride Cup Rookie To Pilot Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge at Homestead MOORESVILLE, NC (November 15, 2004)-NASCAR Rookie sensation Kasey Kahne, fresh off a truck series victory at Darlington, will take the wheel of Jim Smith's Ultra ...
Kahne Stays in Red Hot Ride
Cup Rookie To Pilot Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge at Homestead
MOORESVILLE, NC (November 15, 2004)-NASCAR Rookie sensation Kasey Kahne, fresh off a truck series victory at Darlington, will take the wheel of Jim Smith's Ultra Motorsports prepared No. 2 Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge for the season ending Ford 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday November 19th. Kahne returns to a truck that has been red hot over the past seven races posting two wins, Martinsville and Darlington, and four top-ten finishes. Jamie McMurray won at Martinsville and Kahne captured the checkered flag at Darlington in his first career NCTS start.
"I've wanted to run a truck for a long time," Kahne said following his win at Darlington. "I saw Jamie McMurray and P.J. Jones were the two guys going in and out of the No. 2 Dodge, and I asked Jim Smith (Ultra Motorsports, team owner) if I could drive it, and he said yes. I thought that we could run good. I didn't know how good. I had never driven one, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. But, I knew the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge was a great truck. Ted Musgrave always runs good, and Ultra Motorsports runs good here. So, I thought we had a pretty good chance to run up front and win the race."
One big reason for the team's success has been crew chief Trip Bruce. The Richmond, VA native has lent a steady hand to a team that has utilized six different drivers during the course of the 2004 season. Bruce has earned top-ten finishes with four separate drivers, which is no easy feat.
"The guys on this Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge team have been willing to do anything possible to make this truck run up front," Bruce said. "They are racers, pure and simple. No matter what has happened they have never given up. Our approach has been the same every time out - we want to give the best truck possible to whoever is behind the wheel. We didn't have much of a chance to celebrate this win at Darlington because we were back at the shop the next morning. That has been this team's attitude."
Ultra Motorsports has always given the driver of the No. 2 a good shot at winning. With his win at Darlington, Kahne becomes the seventh different driver to win in that truck, joining Mike Bliss, Mike Wallace, Scott Riggs, Jason Leffler, Jimmy Spencer, and McMurray as winners in the Team ASE/CARQUEST Dodge. Bruce says that paying attention to what each separate driver needs to make them comfortable is a big key to the team's recent success.
"Every driver is different in terms of what they need in the truck," Bruce says. "Making them comfortable and creating a driving environment that is suitable for them is very important. Each driver likes things a certain way, whether it be where the side mirror is located or how the seat is mounted, and all those things play a big part in being successful. As a crew chief you have to listen carefully and respond accordingly to give your driver the best chance at running up front."
The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series closes out the 2004 season at Homestead-Miami Speedway this Friday. The Ford 200 will be broadcast live nationally on the Speed Channel, MRN Radio and XM Satellite Radio at 3:00pm ET.