Top-15 Finish for Kahne at Kansas Speedway
It was a trying day for the No. 5 UniFirst team in the Kansas 400 race at Kansas Speedway. The team had to work diligently on adjusting the car as well as repairing damage from a multi-car accident to keep driver Kasey Kahne, who made his 500th career start in the NASCAR Cup Series, on track for a solid finish.
Date: Sunday, October 22, 2017
Event: Kansas 400
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Kansas Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 21st/15th (Completed 267 of 267 laps)
Kahne started Sunday’s race in the 21st position and had to work both the lower lines and the high lines of the track throughout the race to gain ground on his competitors. A two-tire pit stop during Stage 1 of the race helped the team gain ground on the competition and Kahne worked hard to “hold on” to his car which was extremely tight in the corners to finish 12th overall in the first stage.
Throughout Stage 2 of the race, Kahne raced between the 10th and 18th positions. Crew Chief Darian Grubb worked to “free-up” the car for the Enumclaw, Washington, native. Thirty laps later Kahne reported that while he was still looking for better handling in the corners, the car was “the best it’s been.” Kahne finished Stage 2 in 18th position.
The final stage of the race brought major challenges for Kahne, Grubb and the UniFirst team. While the pit crew put up solid times, Kahne was a little too aggressive during one pit stop and was too fast on pit road giving him the penalty to go to the end of the longest line for a restart. This put the team back in 26th position.
On Lap 198, during another restart, an accident started at the front of the field collecting many of the top competitors. Kahne weaved his way through the wrecked cars but unfortunately did get damage on the right front of the car. Once again, the team had to persevere – and fixed the damage as best as possible for Kahne to continue the race. For the final laps, Kahne took his damaged race car from 20th up to the 15th position to finish the race.