DAYTONA RECAP: Most recently, Kasey Kahne was running second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway on July 6 with five laps to go when a competitor moved suddenly to the bottom line and sent Kahne off the track and into the infield retaining wall. He was scored with the 32nd-place result and now ranks 12th in the driver standings.
HONORING SEAN COLLIER: Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr. will carry a special decal this weekend on their Chevrolet SS race cars in memory of Sean Collier, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer who was killed April 18 in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing. Collier’s brother, Andrew, is a machinist in the Hendrick Motorsports engine department. The decal resembles the MIT police badge and includes Collier’s badge number in the center. New Hampshire Motor Speedway will host first responders and their families during the track’s July 11-14 NASCAR weekend.
SEASON-TO-DATE: In the first 18 Sprint Cup races this season, Kahne ranks first with 521 of the fastest laps run and fastest speed in traffic (6.111 average ranking). He ranks third in green-flag speed (5.846 average ranking) and in fastest drivers early in a run (7.000). His 99.8 driver rating is fourth-best as are his 400 laps led and his ranking among fastest drivers late in a run (7.308). His average start this season is 8.9, and his average finish is 17.3.
DEFENDING RACE WINNER: Kahne, 33, collected his first New Hampshire win in this race a year ago after leading 66 of 301 laps. Most recently at the 1.058-mile track, Kahne started sixth, led a lap and finished fifth there in September 2012.
KAHNE AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: In 18 Sprint Cup starts at New Hampshire, Kahne has one win, three top-five finishes and eight top-10s. He has started from the outside pole position four times at the Magic Mile, including two of the last three events there. Kahne has led 274 career laps at New Hampshire.
NEW HAMPSHIRE LOOP STATISTICS: During the last 16 races at New Hampshire, Kahne has ranked inside the top 10 in several categories recorded by NASCAR loop data. His 288 fastest laps rank him fourth among the competition. Kahne also ranks fifth in green-flag passes (840), sixth in fastest drivers late in a run (123.890 mph), seventh in green-flag speed (124.392 mph), ninth in laps led (243) and ninth in driver rating (91.8).
NEW HAMPSHIRE CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Kenny Francis has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-769 for the New Hampshire race. Kahne has raced this car four times this season, notably reaching Victory Lane at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on March 17. During those four starts, he has averaged a 4.75 starting spot on the strength of outside pole positions at Phoenix and Bristol and a fourth-place start at Richmond, Va. Kahne also lined up 11th in this car on June 2 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
INTERMEDIATE STATS: Kahne has collected nine of his 15 career Cup wins and 15 of his 26 pole positions on tracks one-to-two miles in length. In 163 starts on tracks one-to-two miles in length, he has posted 39 top-five finishes and 67 top-10s.
NEW HAMPSHIRE DOUBLE: In addition to his duties behind the wheel of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS this weekend at New Hampshire, Kahne will pilot JR Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevrolet in the 211.6-mile NASCAR event on Saturday afternoon.
NEW HAMPSHIRE NATIVE: Shock engineer Dave Paronto grew up roughly 80 miles north of Loudon in Woodsville, N.H., where he learned to work on cars with his stepfather. Paronto raced briefly in New Hampshire after college before moving to North Carolina in 1998 to pursue a job in NASCAR. Paronto notably was the shock specialist during Matt Kenseth’s 2003 championship run. He is in his second year with Kahne and the No. 5 team.
HENDRICK AT NEW HAMPSHIRE: In 36 Cup races (130 starts) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Hendrick Motorsports has nine wins, 39 top-five finishes and 60 top-10s. Most recently, Gordon won the pole position at the 1.058-mile track in September 2012. Gordon recorded the third-place result and finished inside the top 13 with his Hendrick Motorsports teammates Johnson (second), Kahne (fifth) and Earnhardt (13th).
LOUDON LEADERS: Three-time victor Gordon ranks first among drivers all-time at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with 16 top-five finishes, 21 top-10s and 1,316 laps led. Johnson, also three-time winner at Loudon, ranks second among active drivers with an average finish of 9.5.
KASEY KAHNE, DRIVER, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS (ON NEW HAMPSHIRE.): “It’s fun to race at tracks that are a little different so I like New Hampshire. It’s a flat, one-mile track, and you drive the car a lot different there with the braking and the way you pick up the throttle. I feel like Turn 3 is probably the toughest part of New Hampshire because it’s rough getting into the corner, which makes it easy to lock up your brakes, get loose or slide the car over the bumps. So just trying to really work on that through practice and not give up anywhere else in the corner is usually key for me there. Overall, it’s a pretty cool track. They always have really good fans up there. A lot of people come to the races so it’s a good place.”
KAHNE (ON THE OFF-WEEKEND.): “I always like the July off-week. It’s a good chance to get caught up, relax and have some good time to yourself. At this point in the season, you’re getting ready and prepared for those final 17 races. You go hard and a lot happens in those races. But it’s a good time of year whether you go on vacation or last year I just stayed around Charlotte (N.C.) and had a really good time. You can do whatever you want, but it’s a good time to settle down and prepare for those final 17 races.”
-Hendrick Motorsports PR