Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, is on pace to complete his best season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Kahne enters the final race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season ranked third in the championship standings on the strength of five top-five finishes and six top-10s in the first nine races of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. With one race remaining, he is now 50 points behind leader Brad Keselowski and 30 points behind teammate Jimmie Johnson. His previous best season result was eighth in 2006.
SEASON-TO-DATE STATS: Kahne heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway with two wins, 12 top-five finishes, 19 top-10s and four pole positions in 35 Cup events this season. His average starting position of 8.7 is best among the competition, and Kahne’s average green-flag speed in 2012 ranks him second to Johnson.
KAHNE AT HOMESTEAD: In eight Cup starts at Homestead, Kahne has earned one top-five finish, four top-10s and two pole positions. Kahne is the only driver with eight starts or more at Homestead to have an average starting position inside the top-10 (7.2). He enters Sunday’s race with back-to-back top-10 finishes at the 1.5-mile oval.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Crew chief Kenny Francis and the No. 5 team will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-729. Kahne has raced this car three times this season, notably scoring third-place finish at Michigan International Speedway in August and a top-10 result at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in October.
LOOP DATA: During the last seven years, Kahne has led 100 laps at Homestead-Miami Speedway, ranking him fourth. During the same period, his 544 green-flag passes and 12.9 average running position rank him fifth in both categories. He ranks sixth among drivers in this timeframe for fastest laps run with 86.
DRIVER RATING: Kahne has earned an average driver rating of 90.1 at Homestead, ranking him 10th among the competition. The driver rating is a formula that combines wins, top-15 finishes, average running position while on the lead lap, average speed under green, fastest lap, most laps led and lead-lap finishes. The maximum a driver can earn in each race is 150 points. The driver rating number is used pre-race as a prediction tool and post-race as a performance evaluator.
1.5-MILE SUCCESS: Kahne has finished eighth or better in seven of the nine points races at 1.5-mile speedways this season, notably recording a win at Charlotte in May and a runner-up finish at Kentucky Speedway in June. He also earned pole positions on the 1.5-mile tracks at Las Vegas Motor Speedway – the first for Hendrick Motorsports — and Kansas Speedway.
HENDRICK AT HOMESTEAD: Hendrick Motorsports has three runner-up results at Homestead-Miami Speedway and still is looking for its first victory at the 1.5-mile oval, which was added to the Cup schedule in 1999. Hendrick Motorsports has yet to win at just two tracks on the Cup schedule – Homestead and Kentucky Speedway. In 13 races (51 starts) at Homestead, Hendrick has two pole positions, 11 top-five finishes and 20 top-10s. Jeff Gordon leads drivers all-time there with six top-five finishes and 10 top-10s. Kahne and Johnson are among the drivers tied for first all-time with two poles at Homestead.
CHASE AT A GLANCE: Since going to a four-car team in 2002, Hendrick Motorsports has had two or more drivers finish the season ranked inside the top five in the championship standings five times. Jeff Gordon and Johnson accomplished this feat three years in a row (2002-2004), and Kyle Busch joined that championship mix in 2007, giving the organization three top-five finishers. In 2009, Hendrick Motorsports became the only team in NASCAR history to finish 1-2-3 in the points. This season, all four Hendrick drivers qualified for the postseason for the first time in team history.
KASEY KAHNE, DRIVER, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET (ON HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY.): “I’m excited to finish off the season strong at Homestead. We usually qualify really well there, and we’ve had strong finishes the last couple of years. The track always has multiple grooves, which I really like.”
KAHNE (ON HIS FIRST SEASON WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “I’m so proud of what this team has done. We overcame a lot, made the Chase and fought right to the end. I’m really looking forward to what we can accomplish next year.”