LONG POND, Pa. — official release — Sean Gardner/Getty Images North America photo — Kasey Kahne’s aggravation spilled with every word uttered in his post-race interview on ESPN following Sunday’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In regards to needing a win to enter the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, Kahne said: “Yeah, no kidding. I know that. We have five more good tracks for us and six more races, so hopefully we can get one.”
The look on Kahne’s face was one of missed opportunity, after leading the most laps (70) at the Brickyard. But he immediately looked on the bright side – “five more good tracks.” And one of those, unquestionably, is Pocono Raceway, site of Sunday’s GoBowling.com 400 (1 p.m. ET, ESPN, MRN Radio, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Kahne is the defending winner of this one, and with two wins overall and a runner-up finish in the August race two years ago, the driver of the No. 5 has headline writers frothing at the mouth to use the old “Kahne Is Able” headline sometime around 5 p.m. on Sunday.
A victory would catapult Kahne squarely onto the 16-driver Chase Grid. He’d be the 12th different winner this season, with only five regular season races remaining. “Comfortable” would be a good word to describe the position a win would give Kahne.
His solid runs have put him in position to “back” into the Chase Grid, though he’s currently on the outside looking in. With 555 points this season, Kahne is only four points behind Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender Austin Dillon, who currently resides in the 16th spot on the Chase Grid Outlook.
Statistically speaking, Kahne is among the hottest drivers in the series. In the last six races, since race No. 15 at Michigan, Kahne has scored four top-10 finishes. His average finish of 10.5 over the stretch ranks fourth in the series. And his driver rating of 101.4 ranks second only to teammate Jeff Gordon (105.0).