Kasey Kahne BiographyLike many of our NASCAR all-star driver, Kasey Kahne (born April 10, 1980) began his competitive driving as a boy, racing on the dirt tracks of Washington State. In 1994, in a car maintained by his father, he won four micro-midget events. He graduated quickly from Micro Midgets to Mini-Sprints and captured the Hannigan Speedway championship in 1996 with 11 wins in 14 starts. He moved up to full-sized Sprint Cars in 1998 and scored 12 victories in his first season.
"... the fans that follow NASCAR are just unbelievable in how loyal they are to teams and drivers and sponsors and every part about NASCAR. It's definitely cool to have that many more fans." ~ Kasey Kahne
Kasey came to the attention of Steve Lewis who signed him to a sprint-midget-Silver Crown deal for the 2000 season. Kahne responded by winning the USAC Midget Series Championship and, after picking up nine victories, including the Belleville Midget Nationals, was named Driver of the Year. He also captured the Silver Crown Rookie of the Year honors. In 11 USAC Midget Series starts in 2001, he scored four wins, including his second-consecutive Belleville Midget Nationals, and 10 top-five finishes. In October, he earned two wins in one night at the USAC Midget Series/Sprint Car Series doubleheader at Irwindale Speedway in California. Kasey also won the "Night before the 500" Classic at Indianapolis Raceway Park for the second year in a row becoming the first driver to post back-to-back victories there since Jeff Gordon did it in 1989 and 1990.
Signing with car owner Robert Yates in 2002, Kahne moved to NASCAR and ran a limited Busch Series. He scored one top-10 finish at Michigan International Speedway in August. He ran a full Busch schedule in 2003. In 34 races, he scored one pole, four top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes on his way to a seventh-place finish in the NASCAR Busch Series standings. In the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, Kasey won his first Busch Series race. In 2003, Kahne also won the Jim Raper Dirt Cup at Skagit Speedway for the second consecutive year.
"I really didn't think it would take so long. It did take a while, almost two years, but I did learn a lot in all that time and it actually felt that much better when we finally did win a race." ~ Kasey Kahne after his first Busch Series win in the 2003
In late 2003, Kahne was pegged to eventually take over the No. 9 Dodge for Evernham Motorsports after its driver, Bill Elliott, announced plans to run a partial schedule. 2004, the year Kahne actually stepped in for the retired legend, Kahne missed making it into the Chase by a mere 28 points; still, he finished the season with 13 top-five finishes and four poles. Among his top-fives were 5 seconds. He made two starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and scored back to back victories at Darlington and Miami. He was named the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year.
"I couldn't think of a better way to grow as a driver than working with a leader as great as Ray Evernham." ~ Kasey Kahne
In May of 2005, with six second-place finishes in his previous 46 starts, the 25-year-old Kasey Kahne finally won his first NASCAR cup race when he took the checkered flag in the Chevy American Revolution 400 at Richmond International Raceway. He was the first driver to win at Richmond from the Bud Pole since his predecessor in No. 9, Bill Elliott, did it in March 1992. Among his other highlights of 2005 were second-place finishes in the Advance Auto Parts 500 in April and the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in August.
"There's a lot of different places you run into race fans and you wouldn't expect it. Probably the most surprising is when you're in a restroom. You're going to the bathroom and a guy looks over and says, 'You're Kasey Kahne.'"~ Kasey Kahne
If things go according to plan, Kasey will greet 2006 with a new team. Kenny Francis will be the Team Director, Mike Shiplett will be the Car Director and Keith Rodden will be the Engineer. Hopes are this will pave the way for a solid season in 2006.
2006 got off to a fine start as Kasey recorded his best Daytona 500 finish ever. He lost his strong bid for a top-five finish on the final lap. "I think we had a top-five car today," Kahne said. "I went with the No. 8 on the final lap and he got tight off turn two. We both had to get on the brakes or run into the wall. Once that happened, we lost a few spots instead of picking up several. Normally, that would be a good decision. Tonight, it just didn't work."
He went on to earn a series leading 6 victories, narrowly edging out Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart all of whom won five races. Despite his 12 top-fives and 19 top-tens, Kasey had to pull off some last minute heroics to make it into the Chase. (Ace's Bio-Farm)
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