Kahne Wants Richmond Rebound

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Kasey Kahne is one of several drivers happy to have Talladega in his rear view mirror.

After a short day in Monday's Aaron's 499 that ended when he was caught up in a 14-car accident on lap nine, Kahne looks to get his championship hopes back on track this weekend with a return to Richmond, the site of his first career Cup win.

"Everybody went five-wide and I knew something was going to happen," Kahne said of the Talladega melee. "We were just in the wrong spot starting that far back. I wanted to stay back there and wait, but we got in the middle of everything in the first wreck. I don't know what happened, but it was definitely the wrong time for it to happen. It's too bad. I definitely think it was too early for it to get that wild out there."

There were conflicting reports regarding Kahne's health after the accident. NASCAR decided as a precaution to hold the third-year driver out a day of this week's testing at Lowe's Motor Speedway before then heading to Richmond to be on the safe side.

"Yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to Richmond and getting to go out and test," Kahne said. "I just got hit in the door, and it basically knocked the wind out of me. And I just needed a minute to catch my breath because of asking for a minute they thought I was hurt when really I was just asking them if I could just, you know, just give me a minute and then we'll be fine. (People said) I was going to the hospital and different things which wasn't true, I never did and don't plan on going. I feel great."

So with his physical health intact, Kahne is ready to resume his quest for a NEXTEL Cup championship. It's a different scenario for the Evernham Motorsports driver, who was simply looking to break into the win column when the series came to Richmond last season.

"Yeah, I think there is a different mind set," Kahne said. "You know, last year, all I wanted to do was to try to win races. I didn't even think about points half the time. Basically all I thought about was winning and that was the wrong approach. This year, it's more about making sure we finish every race, being consistent, getting the car to drive really well in practice, and having better cars in the race. And that's what I've focused on, you know, just being consistent and finishing is main the thing year."

With two wins already to his credit this season and six Top 10 finishes, Kahne's goal of consistency and good finishes has been met, at least through the first quarter of the season. And after last year's succes at Richmond, a return to the .75-mile track has the ingredients for another successful night in the Crown Royal 400.

"Well, it's important to go back there and run well," Kahne said. "I mean, you'd love to do it two years in a row. I know things are going to be a lot different this year. We tested there and the setup that we ran last year was two seconds off the pace. It wasn't even where we needed to be. So we had to do a lot of work to figure out a new combination, and hopefully we'll have that when we go back and be able to put up a good fight."

And the odds are that fight will last longer than nine laps this week.


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