MICHIGAN RECAP: Most recently, Kasey Kahne lined up third at Michigan International Speedway and was leading the field for his 14th circuit when he cut a tire. The driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS was scored 38th and now ranks 12th in the driver standings.
SEASON-TO-DATE: In the first 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season, Kahne ranks first with 496 of the fastest laps run and fastest speed in traffic (6.40 average ranking). His 99.4 driver rating is fourth-best as are his 400 laps led, green-flag speed (6.0 average ranking) and his ranking among fastest drivers early in a run (6.727). The driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet SS has scored six top-10 results in the last 13 Sprint Cup races. His average start is 8.1 and his average finish is 17.5 this season.
KAHNE AT SONOMA: In nine Sprint Cup starts at Sonoma, Calif., Kahne has one win and two top-five finishes. He has earned two pole positions and started in the top 10 six times in his last seven races at the 1.99-mile road course. Kahne has completed 98 percent of all laps attempted at the track (977 of 997 total) and led a total of 41 laps. Kahne’s one win at Sonoma came in 2009, when he started fifth and led 37 laps.
SONOMA LOOP DATA: Kahne’s average starting position of 8.5 ranks him tied for second with Ryan Newman among full-time drivers during the last eight races at Sonoma, according to NASCAR loop data. During the same period, he ranks eighth-fastest in restarts (86.527 mph), ninth in fastest laps run (28) and laps led (41 total) and 10th in laps in the top 15 (454).
SONOMA CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Kenny Francis has selected Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-802 for the Sonoma race. This is a new chassis, but Kahne tested it at Carolina Motorsports Park in Kershaw, S.C., earlier this month.
FARMERS DISPLAY: Kahne will make an appearance at the Farmers Insurance display at Sonoma on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. local time. Prior to that, Francis will visit the display for a fan question-and-answer session that starts at 9:05 a.m. local time.
LEFTURN HATS ON SALE: Kasey Kahne Racing is selling LEFturn hats in honor of Jason Leffler with all proceeds benefiting his son Charlie for The Charlie Dean Leffler Discretionary Trust c/o SunTrust Bank: www.kaseykahnestore.com/product.php?id=427. For more information, please visit www.kaseykahne.com/news/news-archive/692/.
QUALIFYING CHANGEUP: This weekend, the Sprint Cup Series will implement a group-based road course qualifying procedure that NASCAR uses in its other series. Under the procedure, which also will be used at Watkins Glen, N.Y., in August, cars will qualify in groups instead of the traditional single-car runs held on oval racetracks. Group assignments for Saturday’s qualifying session will be determined by final practice times, and the car’s best lap time during the session will count as the qualifying lap.
HENDRICK AT SONOMA: In 24 Cup events (82 starts) at Sonoma, Hendrick Motorsports leads the competition at the road course in victories (six), top-five finishes (27), top-10s (39), pole positions (nine) and laps led (585). Jeff Gordon owns five of Hendrick Motorsports’ wins at Sonoma, while Johnson earned the organization’s most recent victory there in 2010.
KASEY KAHNE, DRIVER, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS (ON RACING AT SONOMA.): “I’m a little bit better at Sonoma. You slide around more there, and it has somewhat slower corners. For whatever reason, I’ve taken to that track a little better than Watkins Glen (N.Y.), but I like going left and right and shifting and all that. It’s tough racing, and I’ve had to learn it all because I’ve had zero experience in that type of racing but I enjoy it. I’m glad that we go to two road courses each year.”
-Hendrick Motorsports PR