Kahne and Team Battle Handling Challenges at Chicago to Finish 27th
Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Overton’s 400
TRACK: Chicagoland Speedway
DRIVER: Kasey Kahne
CAR: No. 95 Thorne Camaro ZL1
POINTS POSITION: 28th
· NASCAR traveled to Chicagoland Speedway this weekend for a sweltering summer weekend in the Midwest and Sunday’s Overton 400. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series teams had two practice sessions as well as qualifying on Saturday in ambient temps that got as high as 120 degrees. The extreme temperatures in the area challenged teams as they prepared for a race where they knew conditions were going to make the track slick throughout the weekend. Kasey Kahne and his No. 95 Thorne team earned the 28th starting position during Saturday’s qualifying session, but since cars were being impounded following post-qualifying tech, four team’s times were disallowed after issues during inspection. Kahne started from 24th, but battled handling in his No. 95 Camaro ZL1 for the entire race, and finished 27th.
· Sunday’s Overton’s 400 took the green flag at 1:34 p.m. CST to begin the 267-lap event. During the opening laps of the race, Kahne called in over team radio to crew chief Jon Leonard that the Thorne Chevy wasn’t turning. Kahne fell back to 31st as he continued to tell the team that the No. 95 machine was plowing around the track at the time. A series of green-flag pit stops began to cycle at lap 35, and Leonard called his driver in for service on lap 36. Four tires, fuel, and several chassis adjustments were made to the Thorne Chevy on the team’s first stop of the afternoon.
· Over the next run, Kahne fell two laps down to the race leaders as he continued to fight ill-handling in his race car. Unsure of exactly what had changed from Saturday to Sunday, the team worked tirelessly to come up with adjustments that would help their Thorne Chevy. Stage 1 ended following lap 80, and the team opted to make changes to everything that they possibly could on the stop. Shocks, air pressure, wedge and air pressure settings were all altered in order to see what might be of assistance to their driver.
· Stage 2 began when the field started lap 87 with Kahne in 30th at the time. Over the following run, Kahne asked his team to help get the Thorne Chevy to turn better if possible. A caution for debris came at lap 129 and once again allowed Leonard and Kahne to further discuss exactly what the challenges were in the No. 95. Kahne said that the front of the car was the area that needed the most help at the time, so under the caution the team made another round of adjustments to the front of the Thorne Chevy.
· Stage 3 began on lap 168 with Kahne running in 28th and two laps down to the leaders. A caution at lap 178 let the team continue to work on their race car and Kahne restarted the race in the “lucky dog” position to begin lap 182. With pop-up rain showers approaching the track, Leonard opted to stay out during a lap 208 caution as Kahne then took the wave-around. Kahne and the team fought handling until the very end of the race despite doing their best to make adjustments throughout the event.
· Kyle Busch claimed the victory Sunday afternoon in a thrilling last-lap battle with Kyle Larson who ultimately held on after the two made contact battling for the lead to finish second. Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr., and Clint Bowyer rounded out the top-five finishers at Chicago, while Kahne and the No. 95 Thorne Camaro ZL1 finished 27th.