CONCORD, N.C. – With just four races remaining until the cut off for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 Chevrolet SS team are in prime position to make their second consecutive appearance in the 10-race playoff.
Kahne, ranked 12th in the driver standings, currently holds the first Wild Card position with victories at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Pocono Raceway. Kahne has confidence going into the final four races of the regular season.
“I feel really good about making the Chase,” said Kahne, who has qualified four times for NASCAR’s postseason. “I feel good about getting into the top 10 and racing our way in. I’m excited about it. I think we’re in a good spot.”
Kahne’s confidence is related to his dominant victory at Pocono Raceway on Aug. 4, when he led a race-high 66 laps. Kahne, who outran Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jeff Gordon in the closing laps to earn the win, has more victories than any other driver outside of the top 10. That leaves him in a better position as the Chase looms. Still, Kahne knows the importance of being in the top 10 come Chase time.
“I don’t like not being in the top 10, but I feel a lot more secure,” Kahne said. “I feel like our chances are a lot better because of the Pocono win after falling back out of the top 10. It was a big win; it was really good. It helped all of us out. These next four tracks are good tracks for us. We want to race our way back in. We want to get those bonus points to start the Chase.”
The final four tracks on the regular season schedule are places where Kahne has excelled. In 73 starts at the final four tracks, Kahne has recorded five wins, 21 top-five finishes and 31 top-10s. Despite the past successes, there is still pressure on Kahne to race his way back into the top 10, and he likes it that way.
“I kind of enjoy the pressure,” Kahne said. “It’s worked out for us most of the time. We’ve been able to make the Chase when we’re in those positions. I’d rather have that pressure late in the season. We haven’t had it late in the season yet. Hopefully we’ll have a little pressure when Richmond (Va.) comes, and hopefully we’ll have a little more at the end of the year.”