Kahne Finishes 25th Under The Lights In The Dark Matter Chevy at Kentucky
· NASCAR traveled to the 1.5-mile Kentucky Speedway for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ second consecutive Saturday night race in July. Kasey Kahne and his No. 95 team brought a brand new paint scheme to the track aboard their Camaro ZL1 which featured Dark Matter and Ionomics. Teams had two practice sessions on Friday afternoon followed by qualifying on Friday evening. The challenge at Kentucky is that temperatures are generally so warm throughout the weekend that the track usually presents very loose-handling conditions for its competitors Teams also have to walk the fine line of finding the handling balance that their driver needs, while also trying to maximize speed at such a slick track. Kahne started Saturday night’s 267-lap event from 29th and ended up finishing 25th.
· Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 took the green flag at 7:47 p.m. EST with Kahne’s No. 95 Dark Matter presented by Ionomy Chevy rolling off from 29th. The team noted early on that the No. 95 took off well to start with despite the fact that Kahne was stuck running in dirty air. By lap 23, Kahne had steadily improved his way up to 23rd at the time as he called in over the team radio that the Dark Matter Chevy was a little free off of Turn 2, but that it “wasn’t bad overall.” By lap 32, Kahne was up to 21st as teams started to prepare to cycle through a series of green-flag pit stops.
· The first takers for the cycle hit pit road for service on lap 38, and crew chief Jon Leonard called his driver in on lap 42 for four tires and fuel. The race continued on under green-flag conditions as teams cycled through pit stops before the end of Stage 1 came following lap 80. When the team checked in for handling feedback from Kahne, the driver of the No. 95 told them that the Dark Matter Chevy was “definitely looser this run” as Kahne ended Stage 1 in 24th. Since only 16 cars were on the lead lap at the time, the team opted to stay out under the caution in order to take the wavearound that would put them back on the lead lap.
· Kahne lined up in 23rd when the race returned to green to begin Stage 2 and lap 88. The team’s strategy call panned out when the No. 88 got into the wall bringing out the caution on lap 110. Leonard asked his driver to save fuel while he and the team planned for adjustments in order to try and tighten up their Dark Matter presented by Ionomy Chevy. Four tires, fuel, and several chassis adjustments were made under the caution, and Kahne restarted in 22nd.
· Kahne took over 20th right after the restart, but then dipped back to 23rd over the following run as he told his team that he continued to battle loose-handling conditions in his No. 95 machine. Stage 2 ended following lap 160, and once again the Dark Matter team planned for another round of adjustments as they worked to tighten up their Camaro ZL1. Following the changes, Kahne told his team on lap 204 that the adjustments had helped a little in tightening up the front of his car, but that the loose-handling conditions continued overall.
· A caution at lap 208 allowed the team one more opportunity to work on the Dark Matter Chevrolet with another series of air pressure and wedge adjustments. In the end, Kahne ended his night in Kentucky with a 25th-place finish as Martin Truex, Jr. went on to claim his fourth victory of the season. Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, and Kevin Harvick rounded out the top-five finishers Saturday night at the 1.5-mile track.
Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Quaker State 400
TRACK: Kentucky Speedway
DRIVER: Kasey Kahne
CAR: No. 95 Dark Matter presented by Ionomy Camaro ZL1
POINTS POSITION: 27th