KANSAS CITY, Kan. — There aren’t any “No Passing” zones at Kansas Speedway, but in the first race on a repaved race track, there might as well be.
Kasey Kahne, who won the pole for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400 at the 1.5-mile track, believes racing at newly resurfaced Kansas will be similar to that at another track that got a new coat of asphalt this year.
“Once you get to a car — go back to Michigan, for example,” Kahne said. “Mark Martin caught the No. 47 (Bobby Labonte) and No. 42 (Juan Pablo Montoya), and they ran side-by-side and Mark just rode behind them. I caught them, and I went to pass Mark. Next thing you know we are all crashing. It was just the No. 47 and No. 42 screwed up, and then we are all crashing.
“(Martin) didn’t go anywhere once he caught cars. I think they were probably in 30th or 35th — I don’t know how far back they were. Mark was at a dead stop. It makes it difficult for sure. This track is a little different than that track, so hopefully we will have a better shot at passing, and the longer those races went at Michigan the better the racing got and the more it opened up.
“The first race run there it was tough. You could hardly pass a car that you’d just reeled in that you were running five tenths (of a second) a lap faster — you couldn’t pass him when you got to him.”
Drivers are hoping a full day of activity on Saturday — including two NASCAR Sprint Cup practices, NASCAR Nationwide qualifying and a Nationwide race — will get some rubber on the track and start to open up the second groove.
“All that will help the track,” Kahne said. “If it gets a little warmer around here, gets some sun out, I think all that will help the track also — to just get a better base to run on and hopefully move off that white line (at the bottom of the track) a little bit to where we can open up the entries and exits and have a better shot to pass if you are a good bit quicker than the car in front of you.
“Either way, it’s going to be tough to pass regardless, but with all that rubber and the heat and things, hopefully it will help some. That’s really all we can ask for after a repave.”
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