Kahne stops cold stretch of races, finishes third at Indy

Leave a comment

His Chase spot is still not yet secure, but after three consecutive finishes outside the Top-10, Kasey Kahne nabbed a clutch third-place finish in today’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The result moves him up one spot to ninth in the standings with six races remaining in the Sprint Cup “regular season.”

Kahne was steady throughout the 200 laps of racing, remaining in the Top 10 through the first quarter of the race and then jumping into the Top 5 at the first restart of the day at Lap 65. A four-tire stop at Lap 80 caused him to drop to 16th, but the Enumclaw, Washington product moved through the field and back toward the front in the second half of the event.

“We just really got going at the end of the race,” said Kahne, who notched his sixth Top-5 finish of the year and his first since a second-place run at the Coca-Cola 600 in May. “We had a really fast Great Clips Chevrolet. We kept falling back too far. Just things happen and we got back and then you have to pass. You get so far behind with track position here. It takes a while to get back to the front.

“The guys did a nice job, had a really fast car…We just never got to the lead, but at times, I think we were the fastest car – we just never got up there.”

Like Hendrick Motorsports teammate and race runner-up Jimmie Johnson, Kahne did admit to having issues with his No. 5 Chevrolet in traffic – saying that he wished he had a slightly different set-up to start the race in order to better deal with that issue.

“I really struggled behind cars early in the race and got really tight off the corners,” he said. “Once we fixed that, we were really competitive with everybody and at times were the best car.”

Marco Andretti confident that fewer tests won’t hurt Andretti Autosport

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

A small point of debate around the 2018 aero kit has been the manufacturer test days that took place through the Fall of 2017 and into the beginning of 2018. Chiefly, the debate has centered around teams who hadn’t participated in those manufacturer test days and if they’re starting the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series season at a disadvantage as a result.

Team Penske, Ed Carpenter Racing, and A.J. Foyt Racing completed test days for Chevrolet, with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and Chip Ganassi Racing doing so for Honda.

That left teams like Andretti Autosport out of the mix, with some voicing concerns as a result.

However, in a press conference during testing at ISM Raceway last weekend, Marco Andretti explained that he thinks Andretti Autosport should be able to catch up on development, citing the team’s resources – they’re the only IndyCar team with four full-time cars in their stable – and the fact that everyone is still adapting to the new kit.

“I feel like it’s early enough days that, yes, we can catch up,” Andretti said at ISM Raceway. “When there is anything new, a new car, new aero kit, at-track days are huge. We can sim all these things we want. To really get out there and confirm what we’re learning back at the shop is another thing.”

Ryan Hunter-Reay during testing at ISM Raceway. Photo: IndyCar

Andretti continued, “Yeah, I don’t think we should look at it like we’re behind the eight ball. With a four-car team, that’s where we can use it to our benefit. So far so good.”

Teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, echoed Andretti’s sentiments, adding that while the situation is not perfect, they will need to adapt to it in order to remain competitive.

“Any time you have a new car, to put it into perspective, we’re on track three days on a road course before we get to (the season open in St. Petersburg). That’s a very short amount of time. It’s obviously not ideal, but we’re just going to lace up our boots and get on with it. That’s all you can do.”

Andretti Autosport will have one more team test, at Sebring International Raceway later on in February, before the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Follow@KyleMLavigne