DODGE RACING UPDATE

Source: UAW-DaimlerChrysler National Training Center

Kahne again leads all Chargers with 7th at Dover

From motorsports news reports

DOVER, Del. – Kasey Kahne posted his best finish ever at “The Monster Mile” Sunday, coming in seventh in the Neighborhood Excellence 400 at Dover International Speedway.


Kasey Kahne (right) talks with Jeremy Mayfield.

His No. 9 Charger, which is co-sponsored by the UAW-DaimlerChrysler National Training Center, was the only Dodge to finish in the top 10 in the race that was won by Matt Kenseth.

It was Kahne’s eighth top-10 of the season as teams reached the halfway mark of the 26-race schedule that will determine the Chase for the Championship field. Kahne is also the top Dodge in the NASCAR Nextel Cup point standings. He is sixth in the race for the Chase, just three points behind fifth-place Tony Stewart and just 80 points out of third.

Kahne’s Evernham Motorsports teammate, Jeremy Mayfield, led laps and ran in the top 10 early in the race in the No. 19 Charger that also is co-sponsored by the NTC. But then Mayfield encountered the same problem experienced by many of the teams during the day – a loose racecar. A series of adjustments improved the problem over the final 100 laps as Mayfield made up a one-lap deficit to finish 18th among the 21 cars on the lead lap at the checkered flag.

Other Dodges in the top 20 included Bobby LaBonte’s Cheerios/Betty Crocker No. 43 (13th); Ryan Newman’s ALLTEL No. 12 (14th); Kurt Busch’s Miller Lite No. 2 (16th); Reed Sorenson’s Target No. 41 (19th) and Scott Riggs’ Valvoline/Stanley Tools No. 10 (20th).

Newman had started on the pole, and Mayfield had started second. Kahne, though, had a bit of bad luck even before the race and had started 26th. Rain had delayed qualifying laps before the final seven cars, including his, could make their runs. And though the rain stopped and the track was dried before qualifying resumed, the track failed to match the times produced prior to the rain.

That didn’t seem to bother Kahne, who moved into the top 20 by lap 39 and the top 10 by lap 128. He fell out of the top 10 only once the rest of the way, that coming during a green-flag pit cycle near the half-way mark. Actually, Kahne made his green-flag stop some 10 laps earlier than scheduled when he radioed team director Kenny Francis he thought a tire was going flat. Taking no chances, Francis told his driver to pit immediately.

Kahne was right about the tire. Fortunately, the green-flag cycle was completed without a caution period. When all the stops were completed, the No. 9 Dodge actually gained three spots and was running seventh.

Kahne ran as high as sixth over the final 100 miles before finishing seventh.

“The guys did a good job today,” said Kahne. “We kept the car in one piece. It was a long day, and it was a tough race. We’re happy. It was a good run for us. It’s the best run I’ve had here as far as the finish goes. I’m happy we got a top 10 and brought it home in one piece. We’ll keep working on it and bring it back next time and do better.

“We worked on the car all day. We just didn’t make it a lot better. We made it better at times, but we never got that little bit we were looking for. We came close. We weren’t far from it. I think traffic slowed us down, but we just needed a little bit more and we could have passed cars and got to the front. I feel good about where we’re at. It was a good point day. We’re halfway to The Chase. We just have to be consistent in these next 13 races and we’ll be in good shape.”

Next Sunday’s race is the Pocono 500 at Pennsylvania’s Pocono Raceway, where Kahne set the current qualifying-speed record, 172.533 mph, in 2004.

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