Pit Road Contact Damages the No. 95 at Michigan; Kahne Finishes 26th
NASCAR’s top series returned to Michigan International Speedway for their second race of the season at the two-mile track. Ever since the track was repaved years ago, the Brooklyn, Michigan track is one of the fastest on the circuit where drivers top out at speeds over 200 m.p.h. The track is also very aero-sensitive when it comes to having speed in your car, so any little change can affect how someone’s race can end up. For Kasey Kahne and his No. 95 WRL General Contractors team, they fought both loose and tight-handling conditions throughout the weekend. Sunday’s race found Kahne starting from 28th in his No. 95 Camaro ZL1, but contact on pit road damaged the front of the WRL Chevy and found Kahne battling further handling issues due to the contact. In the end, Kahne finished 26th at Michigan on Sunday afternoon.
· Sunday’s Consumers Energy 400 took the green flag at 2:48 p.m. EST to begin the 200-lap event. Kahne started from 28th in his No. 95 WRL General Contractors Chevrolet and improved to 23rd before the first caution of the day came out at lap 9. Under the yellow flag, Kahne told crew chief Jon Leonard that the No. 95 was “a little on the loose side” but that it also “kept getting tight as well.” Leonard discussed a few options that the team could work on, but decided to wait to pit until the competition caution which was slated for lap 25, since teams weren’t allowed to take fuel before that caution.
· Over the remainder of the run, Kahne dipped back into 27th before the competition caution. “Free around the entire corner” was the feedback from Kahne to his team, and Leonard made the call for a four-tire stop with wedge and air pressure adjustments. The WRL General Contractors Chevy restarted in 28th and improved to 23rd before Stage 1 came to an end following lap 60.
· Under the caution, Kahne told his team that the No. 95 machine kept getting better as he ran, but it was still a bit free, despite the fact that he was able to carry speed better following the adjustments. Unfortunately, as Kahne was coming down pit road for service, the No. 47 stopped suddenly in front of Kahne and the damage to the front of the No. 95 machine was significant. For teams needing their cars to run well in the high speeds, and aerodynamics associated with those speeds at Michigan, the crunched hood found the team scrambling to make repairs.
· Kahne lined up in 28th for the restart to begin lap 67 but struggled to show signs of improvements in his Chevrolet. The No. 95 finished Stage 2 in 27th as the team hit pit road for another round of adjustments and more repair work to the front of their WRL Chevy.
· Stage 3 began with Kahne in 29th as the race returned to green to begin lap 127. Shortly after the restart, the No. 13 ran over debris and forced track safety crews to clean up the backstretch for an extended caution. Before the race returned to green, Leonard called his driver down pit road to pack the No. 95 Chevy full of fuel, and Kahne restarted in 29th. Green-flag pit stops began to cycle through the field starting around lap 170 with under 30 laps remaining as teams tried to stretch their fuel mileage to make it to the end. Kahne continued to stay out as the team hoped that perhaps a caution would come out, but the race remained green until the end. Kahne hit pit road for a splash of fuel with just eight laps remaining in the race and went on to finish 26th.
· Kevin Harvick drove away with the win on Sunday at Michigan as he earned his seventh victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for the year. Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon, and Ryan Blaney rounded out the top-five finishers, while Kahne was scored in 26th.
Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series; Consumers Energy 400
TRACK: Michigan International Speedway
DRIVER: Kasey Kahne
CAR: No. 95 WRL General Contractors Camaro ZL1
POINTS POSITION: 28th