The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Oops, Kahne did it again…three wins from the pole

Just like he has done twice before in his career, the driver of the No. 9 Dodge Charger, Kasey Kahne, won from the pole at Texas Motor Speedway, using the same car that accomplished the feat at Atlanta three weeks ago.

The car was extremely loose at the start of the race, creating a condition where the back end of the Dodge would slide out as it entered the turns. Team Director Kenny Francis said they tried multiple adjustments to get the car more stable.

“We tried going down the wedge route, but that made the car too tight, so we had to fix that, and then we made some adjustments to the trackbar and some air pressure adjustments, and that seemed to make the car improve,” he said.

Kahne was patient throughout the race, using pit stops throughout the race to improve the car. He took the lead for good on lap 264 when he edged out Tony Stewart for the lead right before the start/finish line.

“I was reeling him in slowly. I just got battling with him,” Kahne said. “I just waited until I got the opportunity and was able to set him up and make the pass and get the lead just in case there was a green-flag stop depending on what we were going to do, two tires or four. It ended up being a caution, and from there it was just another good pit stop by the guys to get us out first.”

Tony Stewart finished third after leading the most laps of the race. This is the third race of the season Stewart has been awarded the five bonus points for leading the most laps. His car’s air-conditioning system went out before the halfway point of the race, making his day more difficult.

“I was really proud of our team. We made some big adjustments, and we made some bigger steps than we’re accustomed to making,” Stewart said.

Stewart moved up three spots in the points standings to the fifth position and has led at least one lap in every race of the 2006 season.

Stewart’s teammate Denny Hamlin was the highest finishing rookie of the race, coming in fourth place, and credited his pit crew for his performance.

“I don’t know one stop where I lost any positions,” Hamlin said. “It’s such a momentum builder for the rest of the season. Hopefully we can sneak into that Chase.”

This is Kahne’s third career win, each coming from the pole.

The No. 9 team has seen increased success since the 2005 season, partially due to a reorganization of the teams at Evernham Motorsports. Instead of having a crew chief to make all the decisions, the Evernham teams have a team director, car director and engineer.

“We mixed up the team structure-it suits the 9 team very good right now.”

Francis said the team structure works especially well with the No. 9 team because the crewmembers have been around each other longer and have had more time to gel.

Sunday’s race was the first time the pole sitter has won at Texas Motor Speedway. Kahne is the 11th driver in 11 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races to win, continuing the track’s record of no repeat-cup winners.

This is the third race in the 2006 season that a Dodge has won. Some of the Dodge teams have been experimenting with the old Dodge Intrepid body to see if they can gain an aerodynamic advantage over the new car. Francis said he feels the debate whether or not the Charger was adequate was settled when his driver, Kahne, won at Atlanta, but Dodge has definitely ended the debate by instructing its teams to not continue to use the Intrepid after this weekend.

The NEXTEL Cup series will take a week off for Easter before traveling to Arizona for the Subway Fresh 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

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