August 15, 2013

Auto Racing Notebook: Crash still rankles Kahne

Matt Kenseth has apologized for Sunday's wreck but Kasey Kahne remains annoyed.

The Associated Press

Kasey Kahne was none too pleased after being involved in a wreck at Watkins Glen last weekend.

STEWART-SPRINT CAR REACTION
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Kasey Kahne, who finished 34th at Watkins Glen after a wreck, sits in 12th place in the Sprint Cup standings with four races remaining before The Chase.

The Associated Press

Matt Kenseth, the man who caused it, has apparently reached out to Kahne to express his regret.

"He texted me, I don't know, five to eight times apologizing, trying to explain what happened, how he felt really bad about how it happened and all that stuff. I understand and I appreciate the texts," Kahne said. "At the same time, we're trying to get in the Chase. It hurts when you get wiped out when you're minding your own business. It's happened enough this year that I don't know what I can do about it, but I definitely am not pleased. It's really annoying and upsetting."

Emotions are high right now with only four races remaining before the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Kahne is in 12th place in the Cup standings, although with two victories he's in good shape for a wild card if he doesn't make the top 10.

His 34th-place showing at Watkins Glen didn't help matters, of course. It was the fourth time this season he was taken out by a Joe Gibbs Racing driver, including three times by Kyle Busch, who won Sunday's race.

"Well, just looking at the incidents with (Kenseth) and Kyle, we've always had conversations after the fact. They've explained and felt bad about it. Truthfully, Kyle races me really good all the time. It's not really on my mind when I'm racing with Kyle," Kahne said. "Matt has been pretty tough on me a lot this year. He got me there. That's definitely on my mind. I just kind of see things the way I see it."

Kahne was asked in a teleconference Wednesday if he could recall being on the other end of situations like that -- and how he'd handle it.

"It's never happened to me," he said. "Kind of makes me think I need to start taking cars out but it hasn't happened to me. I don't know what it would be like on that side of it." 

JEFF GORDON'S visit to Michigan International Speedway in June was marred by an early accident -- he was out of contention almost immediately when he hit a spinning Bobby Labonte less than 10 laps into the race.

Gordon figures that whole mess could have been avoided if he hadn't started so far back in the pack.

"Qualifying as poorly as we did put us in the position to get caught up in that wreck," Gordon said. "We shouldn't have been in that position to begin with. We have to improve our qualifying effort here."

Gordon started from the 29th position in June and he finished 39th. Heading into another race in Michigan this weekend, Gordon is running out of time if he wants to qualify for the Chase.

Gordon is in 13th place in the Cup standings, and he has no wins this year, which puts him at a disadvantage in the race for the two wild cards.

"A win would certainly help our chances but I don't think it's necessary," Gordon said. "I think a string of top fives and top 10s could get us a top-10 spot in the standings." 

ROSS KENSETH, the 20-year-old son of Matt Kenseth, is hoping to make his first start on the ARCA Racing Series on Aug. 25 at Madison (Wis.) International Speedway.

That's just 100 miles from his hometown of Little Chute.

This will be Ross Kenseth's first start in a heavy stock car similar to those used in NASCAR's top series, but he's already won at Madison International Speedway's half-mile paved oval five times in various series during his young career. Matt Kenseth was the 1994 track champion, and Ross' grandfather, Roy Kenseth, has promoted races at the facility.

(Continued on page 2)

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