NASCAR Watkins Glen Notebook: Kasey Kahne In Must-Win Spot After Another Bad Week

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Kasey Kahne (Photo: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kasey Kahne (Photo: Chris Trotman/Getty Images for NASCAR)

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – A week after destroying his car in a Lap 3 crash at Pocono and finishing last, Kasey Kahne was the victim of a restart wreck on Lap 49 of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International.

Kahne finished 12 laps down in 42nd place in the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen and dropped to 17th in the series standings, in dire jeopardy of failing to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Having scored a mere three points in the last two weeks, Kahne currently is 51 points behind Clint Bowyer in 14th – at a minimum the points position Kahne would have to reach to make the Chase.

A victory, of course, would turn his season around in an instant.

“I made it longer this week than last,” Kahne laughed balefully as his car sat in the garage under repair. “That was pretty awful last week. Yeah, at this rate we’re going to need to win. That’s the only way we’ll go into the Chase. I don’t know what my deal is. But we’ve got to get a little better. I need to get a little better. We had a nice test at Bristol, so I feel that will help us when we get there.

“And Michigan; there were times at Indianapolis when we were really quick with that (high-drag) package. I know they’re working hard to bring a little less drag and more downforce type deal there for us, all four of us. So hopefully we can run good at Michigan and maybe get a win there. We’ve won there before and also won there at Bristol before; so, maybe one of those tracks. Darlington and Richmond; there are some tracks that we could run really well at.”


In the final two corners of the final lap of Sunday‘s race at Watkins Glen, Kevin Harvick ran out of fuel, narrowly failing to get 59 laps out of his final tank of gas.

Though Joey Logano inherited the lead and won the race, with Harvick finishing third, the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet is maintaining an extremely positive outlook as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup approaches.

“I thought I’d done a pretty good job of saving fuel under the caution (that preceded a 30-lap green-flag run to the finish),” Harvick said. “Really, I was just running as fast as I needed to, to protect the lead there as I was in front of the No. 20 (Matt Kenseth). And once the No. 22 (Logano) got there, I had to pick up the pace just a little bit.

“But all in all, our Budweiser/Jimmy John’s team did a great job today, and we were in position to have a win; two corners away. But that’s just kind of how the middle of this season has gone. We’ve had really fast cars, but the circumstances have just gotten the best of us. So, hopefully we’re saving that up for the last 10 weeks.”
Harvick, the reigning series champion, has no worries about the speed of his cars.
“Our cars are faster than pretty much everybody else’s every week,” he asserted. “The circumstances have definitely bit us quite a few times. But all in all, if you have the fastest car and you keep running in the top five and leading laps, eventually you’re going to wear them down.”


Now that Watkins Glen has started repaving its racing surface, running “the Boot” may be back on the table for NASCAR races.

The current configuration of the Glen for NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series races eliminates the Boot, which contains Turns 6 through 9, and shortens the course from 3.40 miles to 2.45 miles.

But with repaving already having taken place in the Boot, smoothing the bumps in that portion of the track, NASCAR is considering running the full Grand Prix Course, which currently is used for the Tudor United Sports Car Championship.

“We could,” NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development officer Steve O’Donnell told the NASCAR Wire Service before Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen. “We’re discussing it with the track. It’s something we’re looking at down the road.”

Even with the addition of the Boot, Watkins Glen wouldn’t be the longest road course on the NASCAR rotation. Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, which hosts the XFINITY Series, measures 4.048 miles.


While Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, will host the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Aug. 29, the Osthoff Resort located in this village served as host of several major announcements made by IMSA Saturday night, including introducing WeatherTech as the new entitlement sponsor of its top series, as well as 10-year partnership extensions with TUDOR Watch USA and Rolex Watch USA. IMSA’s top series now will be called the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship effective Nov. 1, 2015. The 2016 WeatherTech Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge schedules also were unveiled, with the premier series’ season-opening 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona in Daytona Beach, Florida, taking place Jan. 30 – 31. It will be the first event in the new Daytona International Speedway motorsports stadium following the completion of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising project.

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