Kahne tops charts in charlotte Cup practice
October 10, 2013, Staff report, NASCAR.com
Looking to get back into Chase mix, Kahne starts weekend off right
CONCORD, N.C. -- Kasey Kahne surged to the top of the leaderboard in opening NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice Thursday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Kahne, a four-time winner on the 1.5-mile track, turned a fast lap of 193.805 mph in cool, overcast conditions in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet. His speed was a fair amount slower than the track-record lap of 195.624 mph that Denny Hamlin registered here earlier this season.
Kahne, who ranks last in the 13-driver Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, has four consecutive top-10 finishes at Charlotte, including a runner-up effort in the Coca-Cola 600 here in May.
Kyle Busch, who dropped from third to fifth in the standings after a crash last weekend at Kansas Speedway, was second-fastest at 193.653 mph in the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Busch has a combined 12 victories in NASCAR Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series events at Charlotte, but is 0-for-19 in Sprint Cup competition here.
Kevin Harvick, third in the Sprint Cup standings, was also third on the speed chart at 193.548 mph in preparation for Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 (7:30 p.m ET, ABC), the fifth race in the 10-race Chase playoffs. Jeff Gordon, right behind Harvick in fifth place in points, was fourth-fastest in the 90-minute practice, just ahead of Penske Racing’s Joey Logano, fifth-best in the fastest Ford on the board.
Series points leader Matt Kenseth was eighth-fastest in the first practice in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Five-time series champion Jimmie Johnson, just three points behind Kenseth in the standings, was 17th-fastest in the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy.
Rookie Kyle Larson, driving the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet, was a solid 12th-fastest in preparation for his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut.