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Will 'Dega be breakthrough race for No. 9 Dodge?

We're getting close to that make-or-break point for me to make the Chase for the Nextel Cup again this year.

Really, I would have thought a couple of weeks ago we needed to make some big strides.

We need to start running well over these next four races or we'll just be looking to finish in the top 20 and to win races late in the season. We need to make a charge here soon if it's going to happen.

That was a good run for us at Talladega.

I was pretty happy with the way the car ran and the engine performed. It was nice to have kind of a normal race again and have everything go right and enjoy racing.

All three of the Evernham Motorsports teams did well. I was 12th, Elliott Sadler was 15th and Scott Riggs 11th. Our speedway stuff seems better than our other stuff up to this point.

But we're still 31st in points, so we have a long way to go.

We're looking forward to Richmond. We made some changes to the car that I hope will make us a lot better than we were at testing a few weeks ago.

The box for making changes on the Car of Tomorrow is small, but there is still a lot going on with the front-end settings, the clips and where you mount things to make the front end work, to make the tires grip better.

Having a decent run last weekend should build some confidence. We've been struggling, so to have all three cars in the top 15 is something we haven't had all year long.

Everybody has to feel somewhat better. I know I do.

To me, racing can get you down quickly and keep you down for a while. You have to find ways to get motivated when times aren't good. All I want to do is race well. When you're not it's hard to be too excited.

Hopefully, we can get more of that excitement and momentum. We have four really good races for me and the team coming up in the next month. It would be a perfect time of the season to start making a lot of progress here.

The Richmond race takes us back to our first win in 2005. Then we've got Darlington, where we've always seemed to run well, and Charlotte is a place where we've been good.

It was just a relief two years ago to show we could win and not just finish second. I remember driving into Victory Lane, how excited and happy the guys were.

We'd worked so hard and hadn't gotten a win, but had come so close so many times. It really pumped everybody up.

To beat Tony Stewart made it better, knowing we had to beat the best guy out there to win.

So there's definitely good feelings going to Richmond. Last year we made the Chase because we ran third there when all the pressure was on our team to get in the top 10.

We'd take another third this week, but it sure would help to get things turned around if we could get back to Victory Lane there.

Kasey Kahne, 27, drives the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge. He will take ESPN.com readers inside his life on and off the track each week with the help of writer David Newton.