Kasey Kahne's hot streak continues

May, 29, 2012

Kasey Kahne's tenure with Hendrick Motorsports was, let's say, less than ideal over the first six races.

Although he won a pair of poles, he also had just a pair of lead-lap finishes and also a pair of DNFs. Six races in, no finishes better than 14th and a 31st-place spot in the points.

But something clicked, and since then Kahne hasn't finished worse than eighth, giving him the second-highest points total in that six-race span, behind Kyle Busch.

The highlight, of course, was Sunday's win at Charlotte Motor Speedway, as Kahne became the 16th different driver to win for Hendrick Motorsports and just the second driver in NASCAR Cup Series history to win in his 300th career start, joining Rusty Wallace, who got a well-deserved call to the Hall of Fame last week.

Charlotte seemed like a very likely place for Kahne to get back to Victory Lane, as four of his 13 career wins have come there.

Kahne has won everywhere he's gone, as this is the fourth team with which he's won a Cup race. Which brings me to ...

Trivia break! Who is the only other active full-time Cup driver who has won with at least four different teams?

Coming up short

On Monday's "NASCAR Now," Ricky Craven made the point that it seems like every year in the Coca-Cola 600 there's a driver who's the class of the field early but can't adjust to the cooler track conditions at night.

This year, that driver was Greg Biffle, who led more than half the laps, 204, but finished fourth.

That's the fifth-most laps a driver has led in the 600 without a victory, and the second most in the past 40 years, behind only Jimmie Johnson's 263 in 2002.

But Biffle kept up the consistency that's put him atop the points. He has a 7.2 average finish this season. If he keeps that up for the year, it will be the best mark since Dale Jarrett had a 6.8 mark in his 1999 championship season.

Trivia break! Who holds the modern-era (since '72) record for the best average finish in a season among full-time drivers?

Where's the drama?

The continuing theme of the season is the fans' complaints that the racing has been somewhat dull. Whether or not you enjoy the long green-flag stretches, the stats say that late-race drama is down from last year, even though last year is tough to top.

Take these facts into consideration:

• There have been three races this season with margins of victory of more than three seconds. There were two such races all of last season.

• There's only been one race with a lead change in the final 10 laps this season. Fifteen of 36 races last season had a lead change in the final 10 laps.

• Four of the 12 race winners this season led at least the final 40 laps. Only four of the 36 winners last season led at least the final 40 laps.

Trivia break! We haven't had a last-lap pass yet this season. But which driver has won three of the past six races featuring a last-lap pass?

Trivia break answers

1. Joe Nemechek also has won races with four different teams (all four of his wins).

2. Cale Yarborough had a 4.5 mark in 1977.

3. Kevin Harvick has won three of the past six decided by a last-lap pass.

Matt Willis | email

ESPN Staff Writer
Matt Willis has been a studio researcher at ESPN since 2006, working on "NASCAR Now" and "SportsCenter," among other shows. He graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with a degree in journalism. While there, he worked on ICTV, on shows such as "Ya Think You Know Sports?" and "Sports Final." He also was a member of the IC Comedy Club and figures about half of the jokes he makes in his column are actually funny.



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