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NASCAR Cup Series

Dropping the Hammer with Kasey Kahne

Even though Kasey Kahne retires following this season, his future looks bright with family and racing. (Photo Credit: Kathleen Cassidy/TPF)

Even though Kasey Kahne retires following this season, his future looks bright with family and racing. (Photo Credit: Kathleen Cassidy/TPF)

All things considered, Kasey Kahne has made a name for himself in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.  By all means, the 38-year-old Enumclaw, WA native has been a fan favorite as one of the most driven, competitive racers for the past 14 years.

In particular, Kahne arrived in NASCAR with a pedigree in dirt track racing.  Notably, he competed against contemporaries with similar backgrounds like Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Carl Edwards, and Kyle Larson.

With this in mind, Kahne experienced his fair share of successes and struggles throughout his career.  Conversely, there’s the six win season that netted him an eighth place points finish in 2006.  Similarly, a pair of wins coupled with 12 top-fives and 19 top-10’s resulted in a fourth place finish in 2012.

On the other hand, Kahne had tough years in which he’s persevered through transitions within a team or organization.  Regardless, the latter years of his career included two exciting victories at Atlanta (2014) and Indianapolis (2017).

For the most part, Kahne has driven for some of the sport’s iconic figures including Ray Evernham, Richard Petty, and Rick Hendrick.  Interestingly, he scored Red Bull Racing’s second and final Cup victory at Phoenix in 2011.

Of course, one could say that Kahne was quite the fan favorite.  Case in point, he may be remembered for his hilarious Allstate commercials.  Truly, one cannot forget his “music video” set to the Scorpion’s “Rock You Like a Hurricane.”

All told, with wins at Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Fontana, Indianapolis, Loudon, Michigan, Phoenix, Pocono, Richmond, Sonoma, and Texas, Kahne’s shown his versatility as a racer.  On that note, the driver of the No. 95 Procore/Thorne Partners Chevrolet Camaro looks forward to closing his career on a strong note.

Recently, I spoke with Kahne to talk about racing with Leavine Family Racing, fatherhood, and his favorite movie.  Without further ado, let’s get to it by “Dropping the Hammer with Kasey Kahne” on The Podium Finish!

Rob Tiongson :  It’s been a season with building chemistry and consistency with the No. 95 team.  Firstly, what’s been some of the more encouraging developments for you, from your vantage point, in terms of the progress of the team, particularly since Jon Leonard’s arrival as your crew chief?

Despite some tough outings at the track, Kahne's seen the positives with his No. 95 team's growth and progress in 2018. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Despite some tough outings at the track, Kahne’s seen the positives with his No. 95 team’s growth and progress in 2018. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Kasey Kahne :  I think the biggest things to me are just the tracks that we run well at. There’s been short tracks like Bristol and Martinsville and then restrictor tracks like Daytona and Talladega, and the road courses – I feel like we’ve been really competitive at all of those.  And we actually just about won at Daytona.

So, it shows that we can do it.  I think on some of the other tracks, for whatever reason, we just don’t have as much speed at this point.  But, to go to those other tracks that are so much different, as a group and things, we’ve been able to run really well.

Tiongson :  Last month’s race at Daytona was quite dramatic, as you survived the plethora of wrecks and you contended for the win before placing fourth.  Do you feel like your team could make some noise to earn one of the coveted playoff spots?

Kahne :  It feels really good to have days like that.  They’re tough to come by.  In Cup, it’s just a really competitive time right now.  When you can have races like that, it makes you feel good and it makes you feel like you’re doing things right.  Hopefully, we’re heading in the right direction.

Tiongson :  It’s the #KidsDriveNASCAR initiative this month where the focus is on gathering young fans to learn and partake in this unique sport.  How important is it, as a driver, to ensure new and young fans are engaged to stock car racing? And how special has it been to share your experiences in racing with your son Tanner?

While Kahne's known as a talented racer, he's also a very caring father to son Tanner. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

While Kahne’s known as a talented racer, he’s also a very caring father to son Tanner. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Kahne :  I think it’s very important.  I’ve been really lucky since I came into the sport to have a lot of kids follow me.  Prior to being in NASCAR, I had a lot of kids (follow me) at the dirt tracks.  I’ve just always been fortunate to have that support.  And, Tanner has been really fun to take to the race and show him what racing’s all about because he enjoys it too.

Tiongson :  While you’re known to wheel a stock car and sprint car in stellar fashion, what are a few hidden talents that you feel would surprise fans and your peers in the garage area?

Kahne :  I’ve never really had a whole a lot of hidden talents. (snickers) Well, I could see Larson being talented with a hula hoop. (laughs) But I can’t.  That wouldn’t be me. (laughs) What is it? (pauses) I would say that I’m really good with yard work.

Tiongson :  Have you ever been confused for a celebrity?  Some have said you look like Elijah Wood.

Kahne :  No, I’ve heard a couple of different names over the years.  But, I’ve never been confused. No, not in person. (laughs)

Tiongson :  Lionel Racing has produced several versions of your cars throughout the years.  How humbling is it to sign these cars for fans and have you collected your replicas for personal keepsake?

Kahne :  Yea, I have tons of my die-casts from over the years.  You save some of them.  It’s actually really neat to see that.  I love seeing kids play with those cars.  Their favorite car is this car and that car.  And just being part of that is cool.

Tiongson :  Whether from the past or a fairly recent time, is there a movie that you can namedrop over the radio to alleviate a heated moment or quote nearly line by line by heart?

Kahne :  No. (smiles, then laughs)

Tiongson :  Not at all? (chuckles)

Kahne :  Nothing. (snickers)

Tiongson :  So you just curse like a sailor then? (laughs)

Kahne :  Yes. (much laughter)

Tiongson :  Can we expect you to be this week’s Radio Sweetheart?

Ultimately, Kahne will be missed in the NASCAR garage, as seen during a light moment with Michael McDowell at Loudon. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Ultimately, Kahne will be missed in the NASCAR garage, as seen during a light moment with Michael McDowell at Loudon. (Photo Credit: Josh Jones/TPF)

Kahne :  I’ll be very good today. (smiles and laughs)

Editor’s Notes

Special thanks to Kasey Kahne and Jessica Rohlik of Leavine Family Racing for this wonderful opportunity at Michigan International Speedway.  The Podium Finish team wishes happiness and good luck to Kahne with his next endeavor in racing and life! To keep up-to-date on Kasey’s efforts, “Follow” him on Twitter, “Like” his Facebook page, and Visit his official website now.

Rob Tiongson is a 30-something motorsports journalist who enjoys sports like baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track and field and hockey. A Boston native turned Austinite, racing was the first sport that caught his eyes. From interviews to retrospective articles, if it's about anything with an engine and four wheels, it'll be here on TPF, by him or by one of his talented columnists who have a passion for racing. Currently seeking a sports writing, public relations, or sports marketing career, particularly in motorsports. He enjoys editing and writing articles and features, as well as photography. Moreover, he enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, cooking, working out and being a fun uncle or "funcle" to his nephew, niece and cat. Tiongson, a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, pursues his Master of Arts in Digital Journalism at St. Bonaventure University. Indeed, while Tiongson is proud to be from Massachusetts, he's an everywhere kind of man residing in Texas.

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