Kahne Sees Better Days Ahead
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on March 2, 2013 | 10:59 A.M. EST
“We've run pretty good with Quaker State on the car in the past, so hopefully this will be a good start for us." (Photo: Getty Images)
Last season Kahne came to Phoenix Int’l Raceway trying to erase his disappointing Daytona 500, which pretty much ended before it began when the Hendrick Motorsports driver was caught in an early lap multi-car accident.
Unfortunately his bad luck continued the following week when Kahne slapped the wall at PIR and took himself from contention.
Fast forward to 2013 and Kahne faces an eerily similar challenge.
His day in Daytona last Sunday went a little longer, however ended the same way with Kahne knocked out in an accident.
Now Kahne looks to erase all that with a successful afternoon in race number two of the season on Sunday. And he’ll have an outside front row starting spot to help the cause.
“Preparation has been there,” said Kahne, who qualified behind pole sitter Mark Martin in Friday’s time trials. “We've run pretty good with Quaker State on the car in the past, so hopefully this will be a good start for us. It's definitely going to be a good start, and a great start to our weekend.”
Kahne has Phoenix experience in a variety of cars both in NASCAR and open wheel. Although he’s always considered PIR a challenging track, both in its old configuration as well as the new layout, Kahne also enjoys racing at the one-mile desert track.
"This was always a tough track,” he said. “And when I was racing open wheel cars, I loved it. It was like my favorite track. And then I came here in a stock car, and it was one of my most difficult tracks to figure out.
“We got it a little bit better, right before they repaved it; and then since they repaved it and changed the banking a little bit and the way the track races, I've been way better here and felt really good every time I come. So I personally like the new track way more than I like the old track…that's my opinion on it. This track is perfect."
Even though things haven’t started off well for Kahne again this season, he has high hopes for 2013. After finishing fourth in the Sprint Cup Series point standings last season, many have predicted even better things for Kahne and crew chief Kenny Francis this year.
With the Daytona misfortune in the rear view mirror, Kahne is looking ahead to the next portion of the schedule beginning Sunday in the “Valley of the Sun.”
“I can just tell by the things we've done with testing and how we raced at Daytona, how prepared Kenny and our team are," said Kahne. "It's exciting to look at Phoenix, Vegas, Bristol and be ready to go."
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