News & Media

Notes: Kahne doesn't expect much passing at Kansas

October 20, 2012, NASCAR Wire Service,

Notes: Edwards really, really wants win at 'home track;' keep an eye on pit road

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- There aren't any "No Passing" zones at Kansas Speedway, but in the first race on a repaved race track, there might as well be.

Kasey Kahne, who won the pole for Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at the 1.5-mile track, believes racing at newly resurfaced Kansas will be similar to that at another track that got a new coat of asphalt this year.

Who will win?

The Chase for the Sprint Cup? This week's race? Check out the up-to-date predictions.

"Once you get to a car -- go back to Michigan, for example," Kahne said. "Mark Martin caught the No. 47 [Bobby Labonte] and No. 42 [Juan Montoya], and they ran side-by-side and Mark just rode behind them. I caught them, and I went to pass Mark. Next thing you know we are all crashing. It was just the No. 47 and No. 42 screwed up, and then we are all crashing (watch).

"[Martin] didn't go anywhere once he caught cars. I think they were probably in 30th or 35th -- I don't know how far back they were. Mark was at a dead-stop. It makes it difficult for sure. This track is a little different than that track, so hopefully we will have a better shot at passing, and the longer those races went at Michigan the better the racing got and the more it opened up.

"The first race run there it was tough. You could hardly pass a car that you'd just reeled in that you were running five-tenths (of a second) a lap faster -- you couldn't pass him when you got to him."

Drivers are hopeful a full day of activity on Saturday -- including two Sprint Cup practices, Nationwide qualifying and a Nationwide race -- will get some rubber on the track and start to open up the second groove.

"All that will help the track," Kahne said. "If it gets a little warmer around here, gets some sun out, I think all that will help the track, also -- to just get a better base to run on and hopefully move off that white line [at the bottom of the track] a little bit to where we can open up the entries and exits and have a better shot to pass if you are a good bit quicker than the car in front of you.

"Either way, it's going to be tough to pass regardless, but with all that rubber and the heat and things, hopefully it will help some. That's really all we can ask for after a repave."

* Kahne on pole at 'stupid-fast' Kansas | Weather

There's no place like home

It may not look like Kansas anymore -- at least not like the old Kansas -- but it's still a special place to Carl Edwards, who lives in Columbia, Mo., about two hours east of the speedway.

"It's still my home track," Edwards said Saturday morning. "It's a different surface, though, and it's so much faster. I was really nervous about the changes being bad for our team in particular, but we've been super-fast in practice."

In fact, Edwards was seventh-quickest in Saturday's first session.

"For us, and for me personally, this race is as important as any race on the circuit," Edwards said. "A win here, this would be as big as any Daytona 500 that we could win, any Brickyard 400, any of that.

"This win that I plan on getting on Sunday is what we need to turn our whole season around and make this a great year."

After finishing second to Tony Stewart on a tiebreaker in last year's championship battle, Edwards failed to make the Chase this season and currently is riding a 64-race winless streak.

* Kansas: Lineup | Practice 1 | Practice 2 | Practice 3

New configuration affects pit road

The new grading at Kansas Speedway has changed the way drivers enter and leave pit road, and that could create some excitement during green-flag pit stops on Sunday.

The transitions are steeper than they were under the previous configuration, so drivers have spent part of practice getting a bearing on the angle they'll take entering pit road.

They'll also have to blend later on the straightaway when they get back on the track.

''It's really hard to get on pit road. The tires are so hard,'' Chase leader Brad Keselowski said. ''It's just one of the many challenges that a repaved track has, and one of those things you have to figure out. Whoever does that best will have an advantage.''

The Associated Press contributed to this report.