AVONDALE, Ariz.—NASCAR put a new tool in the hands of Sprint Cup Series drivers this year — the capability to adjust the track bar from the cockpit.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. used the newfound ability to change the handling characteristics of his No. 88 Chevrolet to his advantage in salvaging a fourth-place finish last Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
On the other hand, Kasey Kahne, Earnhardt’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, felt he might have gone too far with his track bar adjustments in Friday’s qualifying session at Phoenix International Raceway.
“Every week so far this year we’ve been right there in the Top 10, maybe a little better,” Kahne said. “So I’m really happy. The guys are doing an awesome job. Right there (on his qualifying lap), I just screwed-up the third round there.
“I think I put too much front brake in it or dropped the track bar. I did something to tighten it up a little too much. So, I missed it on the lap.”
In race trim, Kahne was fifth fastest in Saturday morning’s first practice session as he prepares to make his 400th start in NASCAR’s premier series on Sunday.
“I was surprised when they told me that this week,” Kahne said. “It’s kind of crazy how many starts I’ve had. I’ve enjoyed it. We’ve won some races and enjoyed all the racing and traveling and all those things. It’s a lot more than I thought.”
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