DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Story by Race Chaser Online Mid-Atlantic Correspondent Marshall Gabell — Tim Bradbury/Getty Images for NASCAR photo —
Despite rumors throwing Hendrick Motorsports veteran Kasey Kahne’s name in the pot of potential drivers to contest in the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 this May, the Enumclaw, Wa. native said Tuesday at Daytona 500 Media Day that he will not compete in ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing’.
Entering his 13th season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, starting with the 58th annual Daytona 500 this weekend, Kahne was interested in running the famed race — but no seats were available for him.
“I actually thought it would be really awesome to run the 100th and be part of that,” Kahne said. “I’ve always wanted to be part of that and do some IndyCar stuff. I worked on a couple of deals, but nothing really played out. Maybe in the future there still would be an opportunity to do something.”
Fellow NASCAR drivers Robby Gordon, Kurt Busch, and Tony Stewart have all competed in the Indianapolis 500 — pulling the feat of ‘Double Duty’ (running IndyCar’s Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600 on the same day) — and it was something that Kahne was interested in attempting also.
“I loved watching Tony Stewart, Robby Gordon, AJ Allmendinger and then Kurt Busch — what they’ve done over the years,” Kahne explained. “And then [seeing] Jeff Gordon going back and forth with what he did last year driving the pace car. I’ve always been a huge fan of what those guys are doing.”
While he did not set anything in stone, Kahne did have conversations with some unreleased teams — something he hopes could correlate into a potential IndyCar ride in the future.
“It actually was more about the team and being in the right spot and things like that,” he said. “It’s definitely on my radar. It’s something that could happen in the future. It didn’t really get off the ground, but I did some talking to see what was out there.”
For the next week however, Kahne’s sole focus is on ‘The Great American Race’ as he looks to capture his first-career triumph in the 500-mile event at Daytona — a race he has finished a best of seventh in twice (2007 and 2008) with Gillett Evernham Motorsports.
“I thought we were okay in practice, qualified okay,” Kahne said of his Daytona Speedweeks so far. “For a Hendrick car I felt a little slower than what I’ve been the last year or year and a half qualifying for these races. So I wasn’t pleased with that, but it is what it is. I know my car will race really well. And then in the (Sprint) Unlimited we had a great car, moved up through and got spun toward the end of the race. Things were going really well, and I would say that’s fairly normal for a Speedweeks for me.”