Kasey Kahne will drive the No. 5 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chevrolets for Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. Although hes the newest member to the four-car stable, Kahne brings with him considerable racing experience that should serve him well as he takes over the drivers seat in Hendricks original Cup entry.
Kahne began his racing career by winning a Northwest Mini-Sprints championship and a title at Hannigan Speedway in 1996. Four years later, he made his first real racing statement, scoring an upset victory at Williams Grove Speedway and winning the USAC National Midget Series championship and National Midget Driver of the Year. In 2001, Kahne won four USAC midget races including the Belleville Midget Nationals on top of 10 top-five finishes in 11 starts. He also matched sprint car-turned-NASCAR star Jeff Gordon by claiming his second consecutive victory in the prestigious Night Before the 500 at OReilly Raceway Park. Kahne soon was plugged into the NASCAR pipeline and began to work his way onto the Sprint Cup scene.
Kahne emerged as a championship threat in 2006, winning a series-high six races and earning an eighth-place finish in points after racing his way into the Chase. Statistically, 2006 ranks as Kahnes best, and he earned six wins (including a sweep at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway), six pole positions, 12 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s. He also led 744 laps that year.
As one of the longest standing driver-crew chief tandems in the Sprint Cup garage, Kahne and crew chief Kenny Francis are in their seventh season together in 2012. The two have qualified twice for the Chase and overall have combined for 10 wins, 38 top-five finishes and 14 poles entering the 2012 season. They also own non-points victories in the 2008 All-Star event and 2010 Duels at Daytona.
Kahnes racing efforts arent limited to the Sprint Cup series. In 2005, he formed Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR) and four years later opened a 26,000-square-foot shop in Mooresville, N.C. He ran a limited schedule in the teams inaugural season and, in 2011, he fielded entries in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series for drivers Joey Saldana, Brad Sweet, Cody Darrah and Paul McMahan (in conjunction with Roth Motorsports). In 2010, Joey Saldana won a series-high 13 A-features, led in laps led and tied for the most top-five finishes with 38.
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