CONCORD, N.C. – The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs begin with this weekend’s race at Chicagoland Speedway.
The playing field is set with 16 drivers locked into the grid and only 10 races left before a champion is crowned.
Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet SS team are ready for the challenge.
“I know that I’m going to give everything,” Kahne said. “We talked last week, myself and every guy on my team and they all want the best they possibly can in my final 10 races and I want to do the best I can for them.”
The driver clinched his playoff spot with an exciting win in the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway back in July. So far this season, Kahne has earned three top-five finishes, four top-10s and one win. This season marks his first year in the post-season playoffs since 2014. Kahne says the first key to succeeding in the playoffs is speed and earning a starting position close to the front.
“You can’t start 10th in that final run and win,” Kahne explained. “It’s way too competitive, everybody is way too close in speed.”
From there, it’s all about carrying that speed and strategy throughout the remainder of the race.
“We just need fast cars,” he said. “I think that is preparation and just having the speed when you start the weekend and then you’ve got to make the right pit call, the right strategy, you have to be in the front. If you have a fast car and you get that track position late, we have as good a shot as anybody to win at that point.”
Kahne heads to Chicagoland 13th in the playoff standings, but feels as strong as ever.
“I have a lot of confidence going into the playoffs because I still feel like we can run top 10 every single weekend from here on out,” Kahne said. “And that gives you motivation, it motivates me and that is why I’m excited.”
Watch Kahne and the No. 5 team take on Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 3 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.