Kasey Kahne is the comeback kid; Edwards in a funk
Even within the Kentucky race, he had a hell of a turnaround. Kahne got a lap down early and was running 36th. At the end of the race he was running 2nd.
He almost won the race after that early misfortune, a rare feat. And as of right now, he would make the Chase as the second Wild Card entry -- a stunning turn of events after his rough start.
The thing is, Kahne has been fast all year in his first go-around with Hendrick Motorsports—he just didn’t always get the finish he deserved due to an endless stream of bad luck.
Looks like that luck has turned around, and the Chase contenders have another fired-up competitor to be worried about. Kahne knows he has the ability to win races, and he will likely win some more before the year is out, possibly even before the Chase starts. So the competition better keep their eyes on #5.
"We had a really good Quaker State Chevrolet. We had to pass a ton of cars and came up a little short. But the team was awesome. Kenny Francis (crew chief) called a great race and prepared an awesome car and my pit crew was really, really good. We just had a couple of mistakes at two different stops. We couldn't get enough track position so we had to fight for a long time. But we had a great car,” Kahne said Saturday after his strong run at Kentucky.
Edwards falls short
Someone in not quite as good of a mood Saturday night was Carl Edwards, who had to stop for gas at the end of the race and tumbled to 20th in the finishing order after a decent run.
Naturally, he was concerned about his team’s performance, as he has yet to win a race this year and incidents like Saturday’s are hurting him in the points.
“I am definitely frustrated with how it played out. We had UPS here and wanted to have a really good run for them. I really wanted to beat Denny (Hamlin) considering the implications there for delivery companies. We had a pretty good car at the end,” Edwards said. “Bob (Osborne) called me onto pit road. He knew we should have pitted that last time but I was already so far around that cone that I just didn’t feel right cutting across traffic and slamming the splitter down to make it to pit road. We were put in a box. We hoped there would be a caution but there wasn’t. It is time for us to get it in gear. I am real frustrated, Bob is real frustrated and I know we can do this. We ran as well as any Ford out here tonight. At the end, I think with some fuel we would have had a chance to win it. I want to say hi to the Morris family and Killian family who both suffered losses this week. There are folks watching this race from a better place and still a bad day at the race track is better than a good day with a real job but we need to get this in gear. We need to go.”
Still, Edwards held out hope that he could get the ship righted and make a strong run for the Chase this year. He also debunked all the talk of the various theories why he is not doing well in 2012.
“We just, we have to stick together as a team. That is what Bob and I talked about last week. I hear it all. I hear everything. I hear, ‘He is focused on the booth, he is tore up over Tony’s deal last year, he needs a new crew chief’. None of that is true. We are having some bad luck and some bad communication here. We can do this together. We could divide right now or we could come together. I have the best crew chief in the business and he proved it at the end of the year last year. We got beat on a crazy call by Darian (Grubb) and those guys last year and we need to get going and get this Ford in victory lane for Fastenal and everyone that supports us.”