Kahne to test in Hendrick's No. 5 car at Charlotte
Apparently driver Kasey Kahne was really speaking from the heart during Bank of America Motorsports Career Day at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
Come Oct. 17, he'll be working two jobs -- if only for one day. Kahne revealed following the event at the Hall that he will test for the first time in the No. 5 Chevrolet he will drive next year for Hendrick Motorsports on that Monday following the Saturday night Bank of America 500 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Kahne, who is finishing out this season driving the No. 4 Toyota for the soon-to-be-defunct Red Bull Racing operation, said he will receive his first opportunity to drive his car of the future during a fuel-injection test at CMS. He also said he expects it to be his only opportunity to test in the car before moving from Red Bull to Hendrick Motorsports at the end of this season.
"I'm going to get into the 5 for the Charlotte test the Monday after the race. That'll be the first time I've been in one of those cars. That will be the first and maybe the only chance I'll get in those [fuel-injection] tests that are coming up," Kahne said.
Kahne said the No. 4 car he currently drives will not be included in the limited group of cars testing on Oct. 17, so there was no conflict with his current team. He also said the test will be conducted under the watchful eyes of current and future crew chief Kenny Francis, who will be making the jump from Red Bull to Hendrick with him at the end of the season.
He said he expected the test to be productive for him on several levels.
"For myself, to drive fuel injection, I haven't tried that out yet," Kahne said. "So to get to do that and to work on some of the little stuff that you wouldn't get to see until next year, I just think it's good for me. And to see what their engine feels like, how their cars drive, their aero package ... to compare things like that to what I've experienced in the past will be good. It will be my first time in a Chevrolet, and that's exciting as well."
Once he does climb into a Chevrolet for a race, Kahne will have driven for all four manufacturers over the past four seasons. He drove Dodges for Evernham Motorsports first, then switched for Fords as that company evolved into Richard Petty Motorsports, and finally took the reins of a Toyota this season. All that's left is to pilot a Chevrolet.
Kahne insisted that his lame-duck status as driver of the No. 4 car has not been a burden as the 2011 season winds down -- even though he's currently 20th in the point standings, out of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, and hasn't won a race since winning two each in both 2008 and 2009.
"It hasn't been too bad of a challenge. I'm in a great spot right now. I have a great opportunity with Red Bull and I'm racing great race cars," Kahne said. "I also get to look at my future and know where I'm going with Hendrick Motorsports. I can start preparing for some of that and preparing to drive the 5 car, so when we go to Daytona next February [for the start of the 2012 season], I feel as prepared and as ready go to for that race as if I'd been there for a while.
"Hopefully I can get started over there early. I'm just now getting to know people. I didn't know anybody except for [future HMS teammates] Dale [Earnhardt Jr.], Jimmie [Johnson] and Jeff [Gordon], and maybe a couple of the crew chiefs. Slowly but surely I'm starting to learn people's names and getting to know them. I'm going to be there for a long time, so I'm excited to kind of start that relationship."