Kasey Kahne gets fired up in New Hampshire appearance

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Because of their celebrity and popularity, NASCAR drivers get to do some really cool things when they’re away from the racetrack.

But NASCAR star Kasey Kahne got to do a really hot thing Wednesday when he took a crash course – no racing pun intended – in fire fighting and rescue techniques at the New Hampshire Fire Academy in Concord, N.H.

Our good friend, Boston Globe sportswriter Mike Vega, was on hand when Kahne took part in the event to help promote the July 13 Camping World RV Sales 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, which will be dedicated to first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice, being killed while doing their job.

Those first responders include Brentwood, N.H. police officer Stephen Arkell, who was shot and killed last week while responding to a domestic dispute (and resulting house fire and explosion) that received national attention.

Also slated to be honored at the race will be Boston Fire Dept. Lt. Joe Walsh and firefighter Mike Kennedy, who were tragically killed in a blaze on March 26.

Kahne was presented with a custom-made fire helmet emblazoned with his name and title of honorary fire marshal. He then donned regulation fire fighter’s gear and went through a number of scenarios that may have been the first time for him, but are what regular firefighters go through routinely in the course of their jobs.

Click here to read Vega’s account of Kahne’s day.

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

Photo: IndyCar
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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.

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