· It was a hard-fought battle under the lights at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the running of the Coca-Cola 600. The No.95 Thorne Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 sported a unique Vietnam-era Huey helicopter inspired Thorne paint scheme. The team was honored to represent US Army fallen soldier, Specialist Rudy Acosta, who served in the 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Afghanistan.
· Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 took the green at 6:15 p.m. EST to begin the longest race of the NASCAR season. The 400-lap, four-stage event had Kahne starting the race in his Thorne Camaro ZL1 from the 26th position. The opening laps of the race brought radio communication issues along with a loose race car which resulted in sliding back to 28th early on. Throughout the stage, the team made adjustments at each stop which resulted in a stage finish of P21.
· During Stage 2, the team fought its way back into the middle of the pack, rising as high as 12th place. During a mid-stage pit stop, the team adjusted the left front shock as well as air pressure adjustments to tighten up a loose race car and restarted in P19. On the first restart lap, another caution flag waved but team elected to stay out. Green-flag pit stops allowed the team to reach as high as 2nd although the team continued to fight a loose race car. After pitting under green the Thorne Camaro ZL1 finished the Stage in P23, one lap down.
· The team waved around at the stage-break, and started the 3rd Stage in 17th. The caution flag came out 25 laps into the Stage allowing the team to pit for four tires and fuel, along with air adjustments. Fuel strategy came into play as the team looked at the opportunity to reduce the number of stops over the length of the race. On lap 258 a caution flag flew for a spin, which allowed Kahne to pit for fuel, four tires, and wedge adjustments. The changes were effective as the team began its biggest push to the front, finishing the Stage in P7 and receiving four Stage points.
· After pitting before the final stage, Kahne started Stage 4 in P12. As night set in and cool air took over, the Thorne Camaro ZL1 continued to loosen, resulting in a gradual slide back to the middle of the pack. As the stage wore on, the team made changes to improve the car during green-flag pit stops but the changes didn’t have the desired effect. Kahne fought hard during the final Stage but ended up a lap down, finishing the race in P20.
· Kahne and the team showed continuous signs of progression as they raced from the back of the field to inside the top 10.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!