To win the Coca-Cola 600, you have to go through Kasey Kahne

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To win the Coca-Cola 600, you have to go through Kasey Kahne.

Kahne has threatened to usurp the title of Charlotte Motor Speedway’s master driver from Hendrick Motorsports teammate Jimmie Johnson with his performance in the nightcap of Memorial Day Sunday. Johnson has more wins in total at the track (six NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races, plus four All-Star race wins), but Kahne has more recently.

Kahne won his first race for Hendrick this race a year ago. He also won at CMS in 2006 and 2008.

“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time,” Kahne said last year, as he’d gotten off to a rough start to his season in the No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet.

Coupled with crew chief Kenny Francis, Kahne is one of two big favorites to capture the win in NASCAR’s longest race. The other, of course, is Johnson, who had won three straight Coca-Cola 600s from 2003 to 2005.

The car has changed for NASCAR this year in Charlotte, but chances are high the winner won’t.