Kahne Shooting for Bristol Sweep
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone on August 23, 2013 | 9:01 A.M. EST
“The Bristol night race is always one of the better races of the year." (Photo: Getty Images)
The Hendrick Motorsports driver took the checkered flag when the series first visited the track back in March. He led 109 laps on his way to the first of two wins he’s earned this season.
Kahne would like nothing better than to make another trip to Victory Lane Saturday in the IRWIN Tools Night Race, one of his favorites on the schedule.
“The Bristol night race is always one of the better races of the year,” said Kahne. “It’s one of the races I look forward to just because of the time of the season it is. I like racing there at night. It’s hot. It seems like tempers kind of get out of control there at times on the night race probably because it’s hot and you’re racing under the lights.”
In addition to his March victory, Kahne has excelled at the high-banked, .536-mile Tennessee track during his career. In 19 Sprint Cup starts at Bristol, Kahne has one win, four top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He also has earned one pole position and has led a total of 456 laps.
Those stats back up Kahne’s confidence heading into the weekend.
“We won the first one, and we ran really well there the last few times we’ve been at Bristol so I’m looking forward to trying to get another win and sweeping the season there,” said Kahne.
But Kahne is also in the thick of a battle to secure a spot in this year’s Chase field and enters Bristol on top of the Wild Card standings thanks to his pair of wins. Although he’s still 11th in the standings and four points out of an automatic berth, his two victories provide some breathing room in his quest for the playoffs.
“I don’t like not being in the top 10, but I feel a lot more secure,” said Kahne. “Our chances are a lot better because of the Pocono win. It was a big win. It was really good and helped our team out.”
With only three races left to decide this year’s Chase participants, Kahne knows how important it will be to eliminate any mistakes at Bristol, Atlanta and Richmond and close out the regular season on a positive note.
He believes that can be accomplished and punch his ticket into championship season.
“These next couple tracks are good tracks for us so we want to race our way back in,” said Kahne. “We want to get those bonus points to start the Chase.
“I feel really good about making the Chase, and I also feel good about getting into the top 10 and racing our way in. We’ve been fast and good at all the tracks that we have left on the schedule this season so I’m excited about it. I think we’re in a good spot.”