NASCAR: Kahne finishes second

With the new FR9 engine under the No. 9’s hood and a second-place finish Sunday at Michigan, Kasey Kahne was feeling optimistic about the second-half of the season.

Kahne, a former winner at Michigan, even with a late-race caution, just couldn’t catch Denny Hamlin, but the Enumclaw NASCAR Sprint Cup driver did lead a handful of laps and picked up his third top five finish in 15 races this season.

“I feel like we didn’t lose 10 spots in the pits, I didn’t make mistakes, we had good feedback and the adjustments on the car were good and the car stayed together,” Kahne said. “We have had a lot of down moments this year, so it was nice to put a full race together and feel like a Cup team and Cup driver. It is something for us to build on. I think we have to keep building on things because I don’t believe we are out of the Chase yet. We are right on the edge of it and if we put together some top-five’s and top-10’s we will have a shot.”

Kahne’s finish Sunday moved him up two spots in Sprint Cup drivers standings to 21, 548 points behind leader Kevin Harvick and 205 points from 12th-place Mark Martin. The top 12 drivers are allowed to vie for the Sprint Cup championship in the final 10 races of the season.

Kahne is hoping to ride the wave of momentum to California Sunday on the road course at Sonoma. Last season, Kahne picked up one of his two wins there.

“It was definitely a surprise last year and we felt really strong the whole race,” Kahne said. “Hopefully we can unload similar this year. It will be a little different with the new engine and see how it runs. I have always liked Sonoma, even when I didn’t run well there. I have always enjoyed racing there and trying to learn that type of racing. Hopefully we can put another top-10 together. There is a lot that goes on there that you don’t have control over. There is a lot that goes on that you do have control of as well. Hopefully we can get some luck and put together a good race.”

Local television coverage begins at noon on TNT.

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