For the third time this season, Quaker State returns to the hood of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for Saturday’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Kasey Kahne last drove the green-and-gold Quaker State colors at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May when he captured his first victory since joining Hendrick Motorsports at the beginning of 2012. Saturday’s 267-lap race marks the second annual event at the Sparta, Ky., facility with Quaker State as the entitlement sponsor.
QUAKER STATE TECHNOLOGY: The current Quaker State-Hendrick relationship has grown over the years into a championship-winning technical team. Since 1996, Quaker State engineers have worked diligently with Hendrick Motorsports throughout the season to analyze and adjust the motor oil formulations in order to maximize on-track success. Hendrick Motorsports has enjoyed an unprecedented level of triumphs with Quaker State racing oil under the hood of their race cars. With 16 years and more than seven million miles, Quaker State’s technical relationship with Hendrick Motorsports has resulted in 155 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins and nine NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships.
KAHNE AT KENTUCKY: In the 2011 inaugural Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway, Kahne started fourth and led one lap on his way to a 13th-place finish. During the 267-lap event, Kahne held an average running position of 11.940, which ranked 10th among competitors in the race.
LOOP DATA: Kahne scored a race-high 132 green-flag passes last year during the 400-mile event at Kentucky, according to NASCAR loop data. He gained 14 spots during the last 10 percent of the race to rank tied for first in that category with Kyle Busch and teammate Jimmie Johnson. Kahne also posted an average pace of 173.451 mph, which ranked him sixth for speed early in a run.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Kenny Francis has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-717 for Saturday’s race at Kentucky. Kahne has recorded a pair of top-10 finishes in this car, crossing the line eighth at Kansas Speedway in April and ninth at Dover (Del.) International Speedway in June.
DRIVER RATING: Kahne’s driver rating of 94.6 at Kentucky ranks 10th among competitors. 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.
INTERMEDIATE TRACK STATS: Kahne has collected five of his 13 career Cup wins on 1.5-mile tracks, including his most recent victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway. He also has scored eight of his 24 career pole positions on 1.5-mile ovals, including Hendrick Motorsports’ first pole earlier this year at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Kahne’s average starting spot of 11th on 1.5-mile speedways is second only to Johnson (10.5) among active, fulltime drivers.
2012 SEASON-TO-DATE STATS: After 16 races, Kahne’s average starting position of 7.9 is the best among fulltime competitors. He ranks second to Johnson for speed late in a run and third behind Johnson and Jeff Gordon for fastest laps run with 276 this season. Kahne’s speed under the green flag ranks him second among the competition.
POINTS REPORT: Kahne is currently 17th in the championship standings after his 14th-place finish in Sonoma, Calif., on Sunday. Kahne trails 10th-place Brad Keselowski by 69 points and is one of four drivers with one win apiece battling for a wild card spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
HENDRICK AT KENTUCKY: Hendrick Motorsports nabbed two top-10 finishes in the inaugural Cup event at Kentucky last year when Johnson finished third and Gordon scored 10th. The 1.5-mile track joins Homestead-Miami Speedway as the only two venues on the Cup circuit where Hendrick Motorsports has yet to reach Victory Lane. When it comes to 1.5-mile racetracks, the organization has totaled 31 wins, 131 top-five finishes, 213 top-10s and 30 pole positions at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, Homestead, Kansas Speedway, Kentucky Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway.