Kahne warming up quickly to being Budweiser pitchman

Updated: January 22, 2008, 7:39 PM ET

Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR

Kasey Kahne says seeing his face splashed on Budweiser posters is "different and exciting."

Kahne And Budweiser

Seeing Kasey Kahne in front of a red car with Budweiser on the hood looked strange enough to the more than 200 reporters who crowded the convention hall at the Embassy Suites.

Kahne hasn't gotten used to the role that he inherited from longtime Budweiser representative Dale Earnhardt Jr., either.

He did a double take when he noticed himself on the Budweiser posters at a bar in Oklahoma during the recent Chili Bowl.

"It was definitely different," Kahne said. "I was so used to seeing Dale Jr. every place you go. Now it's slowly starting to change. That's different and exciting."

And no, Kahne hasn't been mistaken for NASCAR's most popular driver.

"I think everybody knows what he's doing and what he's got going on," Kahne said of Earnhardt, who will be sponsored by Mountain Dew, Amp and National Guard in his new ride at Hendrick Motorsports.

Reduced Role

Ray Evernham is glad he's no longer the majority owner of his racing organization, which went from Evernham Motorsports to Gillett Motorsports after majority interest was sold last season to Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr.

He's glad he doesn't have to do the job of three people anymore. If he had, Evernham said, "I would have killed myself or somebody else."

Line Of The Day

Kyle Petty was called to the podium during Tuesday's Dodge presentation to talk about Petty Enterprises and its move from Level Cross, N.C., to Mooresville. Instead, he talked about getting out of there so he could eat lunch.

"Really, I could stand up here and talk about what we did last year, but it makes no freaking difference," he said before running off the stage.

Sprint Woes?

Sprint, the sponsor for NASCAR's premier series, recently cut 4,000 jobs and closed 125 retail outlets. The company reportedly lost 683,000 postpaid subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2007.

But NASCAR chairman Brian France isn't concerned that the series will be looking for a new title sponsor after this season, saying he has talked to company officials and they have assured him of their commitment to NASCAR.

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Crew Chiefs Embrace Tire Rule

Pat Tryson hasn't seen all the particulars, but he knows enough to be excited by NASCAR's announcement that teams will be able to lease tires from Goodyear to test at tracks they don't currently race at.

When NASCAR implemented the tire rule prior to the 2006 season, it means Cup teams testing at tracks such as Kentucky Speedway had to use old tires stored from '05 or earlier. The tires were a different compound from the ones being leased to teams the last few years, meaning the amount of information to be gained by the tests was limited.

The goal was to curtail testing, but NASCAR soon realized that teams would either test on old tires or simply buy tires from other suppliers that tried to mimic the characteristics of the current-year tires being made by Goodyear.

This year, Cup teams will be allowed to purchase 200 tires -- the equivalent of 50 sets -- to test at tracks as they see fit. That excites Tryson, crew chief on Kurt Busch's Penske Racing Dodge.

"When you go testing, you want to test on what you're racing," Tryson said Tuesday during the media tour. "If you only got 20 sets it would be a good thing because if you go and test on different tires you think you've got your car figured out and you go and put the Goodyear tires on and all of a sudden the car doesn't do the same thing.

"It'll be a great thing. I think it will help teams get caught up a little bit. Some of us, I wouldn't say we're behind -- but we're still trying to catch Hendrick [Motorsports] and this will help us. You can do all the seven-post shaking and squash testing and wind-tunnel [testing] and you still learn more in one day at the race track than you can in five or six days of doing that.

"For me, there's no substitute for track time and there's no substitute for track time with the correct tires. I'm sure we'll all be petitioning for more than 200 before the season's over. But it'll be a good thing, and I think it'll make everybody all around a little better and I think it will make for a better race."

Tryson isn't alone in welcoming the change. Robert "Bootie" Barker, crew chief for Scott Riggs at Haas CNC Racing, also feels the move is a step in the right direction.

"It'll be a benefit for us to test on the actual tire as far as replicating what we actually have going on [at the Cup tracks]," said Barker, who said the teams adapted fairly well to utilizing different tires for testing. "We got pretty good at it and we could learn things from it. It wasn't perfect, it [will] be better with the Goodyear [tires]."

What's In A Name?

The annual All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway has undergone several name changes over the years, and with Sprint taking over the title sponsorship of NASCAR's top series, the name will change yet again this year.

What was the All-Star Challenge is now the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race XXIV. Yes, the race now sounds like a cross between the All-Star Game found in baseball, basketball and hockey and adds the Roman Numerals that distinguish one Super Bowl from another.

In addition, the preliminary race previously known as the Open will now be the Sprint Showdown.

NASCAR has suggested it would consider moving the event from Lowe's Motor Speedway, which has hosted the race every year but one, but in announcing the name change, a Sprint executive said the company was already working with Lowe's on plans for next year's race.

It likely won't rival the hype surrounding the 50th running of the Daytona 500, but the 25th year of the All-Star Race will undoubtedly be played to the hilt.