A Pain For Kahne

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When Kasey Kahne finally won his first Nextel Cup Series race back in May at Richmond, his friend and mentor Tony Stewart told him the second victory would come much quicker.

But the way things have gone since, Kahne isn't so sure.

"I thought that after Richmond we'd be on a roll, but it's been a lot tougher than that for sure," Kahne said last week while testing at Chicagoland Speedway. "We've struggled on tracks like Charlotte and Michigan with the Dodge Charger quite honestly and I hope it'll get better."

Kahne's reference to the new Dodge model's less than aerodynamic front nose was pretty clear.

"I'm not blaming everything on the Charger, but it's been another thing we've had to work on that the Ford and Chevy guys don't have to deal with," Kahne said.

In Kahne's case, since wining at Richmond, in the words of Roseanne Roseannadana, "it's always something."

His average finish since finding his first career Cup victory lane is 29.4, the worst stretch following any first time win in nearly 25 years. Mechanical problems, crashes, bad luck...you name it and Kahne has experienced it.

"We've had a lot of things go wrong, but all you can do is keep plugging away. We have a great team and I know it's just a matter of time before we get it back together."

Perhaps that will happen Saturday night at Daytona, where Kahne will start the Pepsi 400 from the 19th starting position.

It will be his fourth career Cup start at Daytona where his best finish came in this year's Daytona 500 when he came home 22nd.

"We had a top 10 going in the 500, and then we ended up cutting a tire from damage that was from a wreck earlier on," Kahne said. "You need a car that handles well to run good at Daytona — even at night there. And if we can get that, we can hopefully run up in the top 10 in the Pepsi 400."

After four Cup starts as well as running the Busch Series at Daytona, is Kahne finally getting the hang of the art of drafting?

"Yeah, you get more comfortable every time you do it, and you learn more every time you do it," Kahne said. "It just takes time. It's a different type of racing. I'm going to be racing the Busch car again this weekend. And that helps to get those extra laps, being in the draft and trying to figure things out, learning a little bit more about the air and I think it will all pay off and help our Dodge Charger on Saturday night."

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