SOPHOMORE SEASON: Kasey Kahne enters his second year with Hendrick Motorsports after recording acareer-best fourth-place result in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup standings. He finished the 2012 season with two wins, 12 top-five finishes, 19 top-10s and four pole positions. Joined again by crew chief Kenny Francis, Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Chevrolets during the 2013 campaign, his 10th year on the Cup circuit. Overall,Kahne has 14 Cup victories, 13 of which he’s earned since 2006 with Francis as his crew chief.
WE AREFARMERS: Farmers Insurance returns as a primary partner with Kahne for its second straight season and will adorn the hood of the No. 5 Chevrolets in 22 Sprint Cup Series events this year. The 32-year-old Kahne will pilot the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS in the Feb. 16 Sprint Unlimited exhibition event and the Feb. 24 Daytona 500.
CHEVROLET SS: The 2013 season welcomes NASCAR’s sixth generation race car, the Gen-6,but Kahne is no stranger to how the Chevrolet SS handles on the 2.5-mile superspeedway. Kahne and his Hendrick Motorsports teammates participated in the NASCAR Sprint Cup test session at Daytona in January.
KAHNE AT DAYTONA: While Kahne still is looking for his first Daytona500 win, he has reached Victory Lane previously at the 2.5-mile superspeedway. In 2010, he won the second Budweiser Duel 150 qualifying race. In 18 NASCAR Sprint Cup starts at Daytona, Kahne has two top-five finishes and seven top-10s, including a runner-up result in the July 2010 race.
SUPERSPEEDWAY STATS: In 36 starts at the restrictor-plate tracks of Daytona and Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway,Kahne has recorded acombined five top-five finishes and 11 top-10s. He recorded back-to-back seventh-place finishes in the Daytona 500 in 2007 and 2008 and two runner-up finishes in the fall races at Talladega in 2006 and 2009. Three of Kahne’s 14 career wins happened on tracks two miles or longer — Fontana, Calif., Michigan International Speedway and Pocono Raceway.
UNLIMITED LOOP DATA: In eight Sprint Unlimited career starts at Daytona,Kahne has accumulated four top-10s,including arunner-up finish in 2010. According to NASCAR loop data in the last seven Sprint Unlimited races at Daytona, there’s a three-way tie for eighth in the closers category between Kahne, Dave Blaney and Joe Nemechek for positions improved in the last 10 percent of the laps in each race (six positions). Kahne ranks ninth in the green-flag passes category with 646 total.
DUELS LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR loop datain the last eight Duel races at Daytona, Kahne has more green-flag passes (730) than any other driver during that time. He ranks third for quality passes (590), sixth in fastest laps run (20), ninth in laps in top 15 (406), ninth in speed in traffic (188.943 mph) and 10th fastest on restarts (171.260 mph).
DAYTONA 500 LOOP DATA: According to NASCAR loop data in the last 16points-paying races at Daytona, Kahne has more green-flag passes (3,520) than any other driver. He ranks second for speed under the green flag with an average pace of 188.215 mph and is tied for fifth in fastest laps run (68). Kahne ranks fifth in speed in traffic (188.061 mph), ninth in quality passes (1,997laps), 10th in average running position (16.442) and 10th in fastest drivers early in a run (189.237 mph).
HALF MARATHON: Prior to qualifying for the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, Kahne and teammate Jimmie Johnson will run the Daytona Beach Half Marathon. The 13.1-mile race opens with atwo-mile segment around the 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway oval and then leads runners to the ocean shore before winding them back to the track and the finish line in Victory Lane.
CHASSIS CHOICE: Francis will unload Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 5-636 for the Feb. 16 Sprint Unlimited event. Kahne last raced this chassis at Daytona’s exhibition event last February, where he finished 13th. Kahne will pilot new Chassis No. 5-768 for the first time in the Feb. 24 Daytona 500.
DAYTONA DOUBLE: Kahne will drive the No. 5 JR Motorsports Chevrolet during the 300-mile NASCAR event onFeb. 23 at Daytona. Most recently, Kahne recorded a ninth-place finish in this event at Daytonain February 2012.
FLORIDA NATIVES: Two members of the No. 5 Chevrolet team hail from the Sunshine State. Francis made a name for himself behind the wheel of a gokart in Jacksonville and went on to earn his mechanical engineering degree from the University of Florida. Front-tire changer Johnny Roberts grew up surfing the waves near his hometown of Titusville.
HENDRICK AT DAYTONA: In 58 points-paying events (186 starts) at Daytona,Hendrick Motorsports has achieved 10wins,44 top-five finishes, 80 top-10s and has led 1,380 laps. Six of those wins were earned in the Daytona 500,with the most recent two happening back-to-back with Jeff Gordon in 2005 and Johnsonin 2006. Hendrick owns six victories in the Sprint Unlimited and most recently won the exhibition event with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2008.
FAN-DESIGNED UNLIMITED: This year for the Sprint Unlimited, fans will vote upon many specifics, including the number of laps in each segment; the type of pit stop a team can make after the first segment and how many cars will be eliminated after the second segment. Votes can be cast on NASCAR’s new official mobile app — NASCAR Mobile ’13 — or at NASCAR.com/Sprint Unlimited. All votes made through the NASCAR Mobile ’13 app will count twice.
KASEY KAHNE, DRIVER, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS (ON WHAT HE THINKS ABOUT FANS VOTING FOR THE SPRINT UNLIMITED EVENT.): “Whatever they decide, we’ll race and do it, and we’ll see what happens from there. Pretty much when you’re at a racetrack like Daytona, you’re going to have atwo-lap dash at the end, and that’s just basically what you’re going to have. They can do whatever they want, and then we’re going to have that two-lap dash. You just kind of go into it and who knows what’s going to happen, and who knows where you’re going to start or how you’re going to start. All those things are going to be up in the air, and it’s up to the fans. Sprint likes bringingthe fans into it. They like making the fans a part of this,and I think the fans are a huge part of NASCAR so tohave certain races where they’re a big part of that is fine with me. It’s Daytona. You can pass, and you can go from 10th to the lead, you can go to the lead to 10th in no time at all so it’ll be pretty excitingI think.”
KAHNE (ON CARRYING THE NO. 5 TEAM’S STRONG MOMENTUM FROM 2012 TO THIS SEASON.): “Last year ended up being apretty good year, and Ithink some of that momentum will carry over to this season. We still have the same team, the same group and we all know that. We know where we were and what we need to work on. We’ve talked about it,and we’re going to work on those things. We have a lot to build on going into this second year with Hendrick Motorsports including myself and Kenny like our communication. Just the little things we can work on to get better. We have a lot of places we can make gains and get better so I like knowing that and we’re working hard on that. I’m looking forward to getting the 2013 season started.”
KAHNE (ON HOW THE NEW CHEVROLET SS DRIVES.): “I feel great about the Gen-6. The new Chevy SS looks great. It’s been awesome to drive at all the testing I’ve done. I’ve done six tests at four different tracks to this point, and Ifelt really good in it each time. The biggest pack I’ve been in I think is 12-14 cars. It was fine, and we were able to pass cars at Charlotte — probably could pass four to five cars in a 20-lap run. So I thought the passing was there, and the cars just handle really well. You can put them where you want them. You can race side-by-side and clear the car in front of you if you’re better than them.”
KAHNE (ON WHY HE’S RUNNING IN THE DAYTONA BEACH HALF MARATHON ON FEB. 17.): “Iwas very active in sports when I was younger so running has always beensomething I’ve enjoyed. It’s a great way to clear my mind andwith all that’s goingon during DaytonaSpeedweeks, running this half-marathon will be a great outlet to help maintain my focus. I enjoy pushing myself, and it’s fun to take yourself to that level.”
KENNY FRANCIS, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS (ON THE NO. 5 TEAM’S OFFSEASON.): “It’s been a good offseason. We tested three times, which is more than we usually test during the offseason the last few years so that’s been refreshing. We got to be in the car at the track a good bit so there’s a lot of pluses and minuses to it. But overall, we feel good about it. We really like the new Chevy SS so we think it’s going to be a really good year, and we’re excited to get going.”
FRANCIS (ON HIS SECOND SEASON AT HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS.): “It’s the first time in a long time that Kasey andI have come into a new year with the same team behind us and the same working group. In the past three or four years, there’s been a lot of change so we hope that it’s just a bit more relaxing kind of gettingthere. Of course then, we throw in the Chevy SS,the whole Gen-6 car so it has made for a little bit of a trying time getting our fleet built up and getting all the details finished up. Soit’s always something. Hopefully we’ll have a good Daytona, and we won’t even think about the offseason.”
FRANCIS (ON CARRYING THE NO. 5 TEAM’S MOMENTUM FROM THE 2012 SEASON.): “Race finish wise and points wise, we were off to a slow start in2012 but the positive part of that was everywhere we went we were fast. We were usually fast in practice so we knew our cars and equipment were good. We had a lot of confidence in what we were doing. We just were having freak things happen to us. It would have been a different story if we didn’t have the speed in the cars, but since we had good speed in the cars and things were going OK on that regard, we knew the results would come. We just had to fight through the adversity that we found ourselves in so it wasn’t really that frustrating because we knew the cars were fast. We knew we were capable of running up front every week and that was good to know. Knowing that, it gives us confidence going into the 2013 season, and we hope to carry the momentum we had going at the endof 2012.”
-Hendrick Motorsports PR