CHARLOTTE – Kasey Kahne stands out at NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 among lake-area drivers. He’s won the prestigious race – and Memorial Day weekend tradition – at Charlotte Motor Speedway three times (2012, 2008 and 2006).
Last season, he was in the lead with 11 laps left and finished second.
Last week, he led two of the five segments in the Sprint All-Star Race at CMS.
It hasn’t been the best of seasons so far for Kahne, a Mooresville resident who drives No. 5 Farmers Insurance Group/Quaker State Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. But he’s surging and will be on a track on which he’s excelled.
The Coca-Cola 600 is at 6 p.m. May 25 (Fox TV).
Kahne, 34, has rebounded from an uncharacteristic sluggish start this season. His first nine races included finishes of 31st, 41st, 22nd and 37th, and a spot near the bottom of the Sprint Cup Series points standings.
That changed two races ago when Kahne finished eighth at Talladega. He followed that with a season-best third-place finish in Kansas, which bumped Kahne to 17 in the point standings.
Which other lake-area drivers have a chance of winning at Charlotte Motor Speedway?
• Greg Biffle – The Mooresville resident and driver of the No. 16 Fastenal Ford has five top fives and eight top-10 finishes in Charlotte.
• Kurt Busch – He’s won at CMS (once) and has the 10-best driver rating among active racers. The Mooresville resident drives the No. 41 Haas Automation Made In America Chevrolet.
• Kyle Busch – Count the No. 18 M&M's Toyota among the favorites if Busch’s form at CMS holds. He’s had nine top-fives and 12 top-10 finishes there. Last week, Busch won the Camping World Truck Series race for Huntersville-based Joe Gibbs Racing.
• Dale Earnhardt Jr. – The Mooresville resident is NASCAR’s most popular driver. He also was the fastest at the Daytona 500. Can the son-of-a-legend win in his backyard?
• Denny Hamlin – The Cornelius resident has good peripheral marks in Charlotte races among active drivers – average running position of 12th (fourth-best), driver rating of 93.4 (fifth-best) and 4,488 laps in the top 15 (third-most).
• Matt Kenseth – This Mooresville resident, who drives the No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota for Huntersville-based Joe Gibbs Racing, has won twice in Charlotte races.
• Brad Keselowski – It’s been a so-so career at Charlotte for this driver for Mooresville-based Team Penske. He has a victory there, but his average finish is 16th place.
• Joey Logano – The Huntersville resident driving the No. 22 Ford for Team Penske has three top-fives and six top-10’s in Charlotte.
• Jamie McMurray – He’s 24th in the points standings, but the Mooresville resident won the Sprint All-Star Race last weekend. He’ll be confident being on the same track for the 600, but can he parlay the short-race success into long-race victory?