Kahne Solid in Kansas
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on May 12, 2014 | 7:00 A.M. EST
Kahne leaves Kansas 16th in the standings. (Photo: Getty Images)
Kahne’s third place finish was his first top five of the year but more importantly helped turn around a recent string of disappointing efforts.
“Yeah, it went really good for us,” said Kahne, who started 17th in Saturday’s first Sprint Cup Series night race at Kansas. “We had a fast Farmers Insurance Chevy throughout the race, worked our way up.
“It was still a really solid run. Nice to run up front and be able to race hard the whole night. It was good for us.”
Pit strategy was a major factor in several drivers’ outcomes Saturday night because of the difficulty many found passing on track. Kahne attributed crew chief Kenny Francis with helping him with track position by his decisions on pit road when caution flew.
“Yeah, I mean, I felt like it was going to be tough to pass at times tonight,” explained Kahne. “If you were it was tough to pass a fast car, but if your car was perfect, you could kind of pass later on in a run or right there at the start of a run.
“It was tough, and then you just you have to pit at certain times, and you don't know when someone is going to spin. So more than anything it was just people spinning that I think got the sequence off that I saw, that I remember, so you don't know when that's going to happen, and it happened a couple times tonight.”
More than anything, Kahne was pleased with the opportunity put together a complete race after suffering through several frustrating recent weeks. He credited a recent tire test as being beneficial to his Saturday night success.
“Yeah, well, our biggest deal is we've just been slow this season,” said Kahne. “Really haven't been inconsistent or anything like that, we've just been slow each week. We tested here, we had that Goodyear tire test, and I felt like from that point on, we've actually had really fast cars.
“I think the Goodyear test here, for whatever reason, we were able to try some things and just look at stuff a little differently than what we had been, and it helped the 5 team, my guys, myself and Kenny and Chris, our communication together,” said Kahne, who moved up to 16th in the Sprint Cup Series point standings after 11 races. “It's helped us a lot since then. I feel like that's been the key, and ever since we tested here, we've ran much better and been a lot more competitive.”