Kahne Making Progress

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Slowly but surely Kasey Kahne is starting to show signs of success as the Gillett Evernham Motorsports driver works his way up the NEXTEL Cup Series standings.

Kahne is up to 17th in the points, which may not sound like much, but is a marked improvement after the dismal season the Dodge driver has endured.

He has notched six top-10 finishes in the last 10 series starts, showing the consistency that disappeared early on.

“It helps a ton,” Kahne said. “It helps me a lot and the team has the same attitude. When things are negative and down, it’s easy to stay that way. But when you get a pole or a top five, you don’t feel like it’s nearly as bad. Things can turn quick in racing."

Three of those top-10 finishes have come on 1.5-mile tracks, which bodes well for this week's visit to Texas Motor Speedway and Sunday's Dickies 500.

Kahne won at Texas last season, but finished 20th in the series' first visit to the Lone Star State last April.

He looks to rebound this weekend and feels his recent turnaround will play a part in the outcome.

"When you have problems like we've had, the key is remaining patient and working toward small gains each week. We've done that in recent weeks."

After his ninth-place run last Sunday in Atlanta, Kahne looks to keep the top 10 streak alive.

"We have a chance to put together back-to-back, top-10 finishes," he said. "That’s what this No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge team needs. Our team has worked hard to get us back to the point where we’re consistently running in the top 10. That creates the opportunity to challenge for the win. We’re close. We’re real close."

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