Kasey Kahne collected his second runner-up finish and sixth top-five result of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season last Sunday at Pocono Raceway. The No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet showed dominating speed throughout the day as Kahne nabbed second in the rain-shortened event. Kahne finished the race with the highest driver rating (122.7) and best average running position (4.602), according to NASCAR loop data.
KAHNE AT WATKINS GLEN: In eight Sprint Cup starts at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Kahne has two top-15 finishes. Kahne has completed every lap that he has attempted at the 2.45-mile road course (724 laps total). The driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet has two top-10 starts at the Glen, including an outside pole position in 2006.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Kenny Francis has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-674 for Sunday’s event. Kahne raced this car to a 14th-place finish on the road course at Sonoma, Calif., in June.
ROAD COURSE STATS: Kahne still is looking for a win at Watkins Glen, but he has found Victory Lane at the Cup circuit’s other road course in Sonoma, Calif. He also has claimed two top-five finishes and two pole positions at the northern California track.
LOOP DATA: During the last seven races at Watkins Glen, Kahne has made 338 green-flag passes, ranking him fourth among the competition. He ranks 14th for quality passes with 123 and 15th for laps in the top-15 with 263.
2012 SEASON-TO-DATE STATS: In 21 Cup events this year, Kahne has two wins, six top-five finishes, 11 top-10s and two pole positions. He ranks as the season’s best qualifier with an average starting spot of 8.1. Kahne’s driver rating of 93.6 ranks him 10th among the competition this season.
POINTS REPORT: Kahne holds the 11th position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series standings, 57 points behind 10th-place Clint Bowyer. As the only driver ranked 11th through 20th with two wins this season, he holds the first wild card position in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.
BACKWARD PIT STOPS: Kahne and other Cup drivers will enter pit road from the opposite direction on Sunday, and that will give the No. 5/24 pit crews a reverse view of the stop. Nos. 5/24 pit coaches Mark Mauldin and Walt Smith plan to maintain momentum by leaving their front-tire changer/carrier combo and rear-tire changer/carrier combo in the same spots on the wall. The athletes will pit different parts of the car, but their movements will remain the same.
HENDRICK AT WATKINS GLEN: In 26 races (88 starts) at Watkins Glen, Hendrick Motorsports has six wins, 17 top-five finishes and 32 top-10s. Gordon ranks second on the all-time win list at WGI with four victories. Gordon earned Hendrick Motorsports’ most recent victory at the road course when he won the 2001 event.
THREE IN A ROW: For the second time this season, Hendrick Motorsports has won three consecutive Cup races. In mid-May, Johnson kicked off the first streak by going to Victory Lane at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Kahne followed at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, and Johnson won again at Dover (Del.). This recent streak began with Kahne’s victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and includes Johnson’s win at Indianapolis and Gordon’s victory last week at Pocono. During its history, Hendrick Motorsports has won three or more consecutive races on 12 occasions.
KASEY KAHNE, DRIVER, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET (ON WATKINS GLEN INTERNATIONAL.): “The toughest part of Watkins Glen for me is braking. You get on the brakes a lot harder than at Sonoma. But we’ve done a lot of road course testing this year, and that’s something I’ve worked on. Hopefully that extra practice will help this week.”