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.
It’s known as “Carburetor Day” – or in its simplest term, just “Carb Day.”
But the final day of on-track action Friday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before Sunday’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 is so much more.
Especially on NBCSN, which will have wall-to-wall live coverage starting Friday morning.
Here’s how Friday’s schedule breaks down:
- 11 a.m. ET: Carb Day kicks off with the final practice for Sunday’s Indy 500. The session will last one hour in length.
- 12 p.m. ET: We’re going racing! Strap in for coverage of the Indy Lights’ Freedom 100 on the famous Brickyard.
- 1:30 p.m. ET: We’ll have coverage of the annual IndyCar Pit Stop Challenge. Which teams have the best – and most importantly, fastest and accurate – pit crews? Team Penske has won 10 of the last 12, including the last two years edging out Schmidt Peterson Motorsports each time. Who can potentially beat them this year?
- 3:30 p.m. ET: We’ll have our annual NASCAR America Motorsports Special. Among segments included in the 90-minute show will be:1) 2016 Indy 500 winner Alexander Rossi will discuss how it used to upset him when people suggested he “backed into” his big win and how he didn’t really feel vindicated until he qualified on the front row for last year’s race.
2) Defending 500 winner Takuma Sato, the first Japanese driver to ever win at Indianapolis, discusses the impact of his big win personally and professionally, particularly back in his native land.
3) An essay by Robin Miller on Stefan Wilson giving up his ride last year to allow Fernando Alonso to race for Andretti Autosport.
4) An essay by Nate Ryan on Danica Patrick as she looks to compete in her final Indy 500 before retiring from professional racing.