With only one race remaining before the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup begins, Kasey Kahne ranks 11th in the championship standings, 18 points behind 10th-place Tony Stewart. Kahne’s two wins this season currently give him a strong hold on the first wild card position in the Chase. If Kahne wins this weekend, regardless of how other competitors fare, he will secure a spot in the 10-race postseason.
KAHNE AT RICHMOND: In 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway, Kahne has earned one win, four top-five finishes and seven top-10s. He won in 2005 after starting from the pole position. Kahne scored a fifth-place finish at Richmond in April. He has led 278 laps at the oval during the last seven years, ranking him eighth among active drivers during that time.
FIRST CUP WIN: Kahne earned his first career Sprint Cup win at Richmond in 2005. Starting from the pole position, Kahne dominated the race, leading 242 of 400 laps and taking the checkered flag more than 1.6 seconds ahead of Stewart.
SHORT TRACK STATS: In 52 starts on tracks less than one mile in length, Kahne has three pole positions, one win, eight top-five finishes and 16 top-10s. He finished ninth in his most recent short track start at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in August and started from the pole at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in April.
CHASSIS CHOICE: For Saturday’s race, crew chief Kenny Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-663. Kahne has raced this car three times in 2012, most notably winning at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July.
LOOP DATA: Kahne has run 279 fastest laps during the last seven seasons at Richmond according to NASCAR loop data, ranking him seventh among competitors in that timeframe. His 345 quality passes during the same period tie him for 10th with teammate Jimmie Johnson. Kahne also ranks 10th for green-flag passes with 698 and for speed under the green flag at 116.344 mph.
DRIVER RATING: Kahne ranks 12th in the driver rating category at Richmond with a score of 86.6, according to NASCAR loop data. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.
2012 SEASON-TO-DATE STATS: Kahne’s 2012 driver rating of 92.4 ranks him 10th among the competition. He ranks third for fastest laps run with 440, fourth for speed late in a run and fifth for speed under the green flag.
HENDRICK AT RICHMOND: In 57 Sprint Cup races (178 starts) at Richmond, Hendrick Motorsports has 10 wins, which leads all active teams at the short track. The organization also has 50 top-five finishes, and 87 top-10s, 3,637 laps led and a team-best 15 pole positions at Richmond. Jeff Gordon, who ranks tied for first among active drivers with five pole positions, leads active drivers with 1,413 laps led and an 8.1 average starting position.
DOUBLE DIGITS: Richmond is one of eight tracks where Hendrick Motorsports has 10 or more victories. Of Hendrick Motorsports’ 10 wins at Richmond, half have occurred in the second race of the year. Tim Richmond earned the organization’s first victory there on Sept. 7, 1986, after leading 51 laps. Most recently, Johnson went to Victory Lane at the short track on Sept. 7, 2008.
FASTEST LAPS: In the first 25 Sprint Cup races this season, Hendrick Motorsports’ four drivers have account for 31.7 percent of the fastest laps run (1,890 of 5,982), and the organization leads all other teams in this loop standings category. Combined, the quartet has led 1,994 laps this season, which also leads all other teams this year.
KASEY KAHNE, DRIVER, NO. 5 QUAKER STATE CHEVROLET (ON RICHMOND.): “We had a solid finish at Richmond in the spring, and we need another one this weekend. Our cars have been really fast on the short tracks all year. We need to put together a full race and get ourselves into the Chase on Saturday night.”