Red Bull Rundown: Kahne Looks to Richmond for Chance at Chase

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

For the Red Bull Racing Team, the 2011 season has been a whirlwind of highs and lows. Collectively, Kasey Kahne and Brian Vickers have had two poles, four top-5 and 13 top-10 finishes, but neither has had a visit to victory lane.

The weekend started off on a high when Kahne earned his third pole at Atlanta and second of the season during qualifying on Saturday.

The team would then have to wait three days to find out if their top qualifying effort would make a difference in the AdvoCare 500. Tropical Storm Lee caused the race to be moved from Sunday night to Tuesday morning.

Kahne led 15 laps early in the race, but on a restart on lap 134, the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota made contact with another car, which ultimately resulted in a lengthy garage visit for front-end repairs.

After deciding not to pit during the first caution of the day, lack of fresh tires and spinning of his tires on the restart caused Kahne to get shuffled back through the pack.

“Atlanta was a tough day all around for the Red Bull team,” Kahne said. “It seemed like nothing went right for us and then we got caught up in some bad luck on a restart which ended any chances of a decent finish for us.”

His 34th-place finish dropped Kahne to eighth in the Chase wild card standings.

Following Saturday’s qualifying session, Kahne discussed the team’s need to win either the race in Atlanta or Richmond in order to be eligible for a spot in the Chase. After Kahne’s disappointing finish in Tuesday’s race, he still has one shot left and that’s at Richmond.

"We need to win if we want to make the Chase," Kahne said. "Right now we're one of the ones on the outside looking in.”

In order to race his way in to the Chase, Kahne must win Saturday’s race, as well as move ahead of Denny Hamlin in the standings. Kahne currently sits in 17th, 42 points behind 12th-place Hamlin and the second of the two wild card spots.

Kahne finished third when the NSCS visited Richmond in April. He earned his first career-win at Richmond in 2005 after starting from the pole.

Although teammate Vickers is not vying for a spot in the Chase, the No. 83 Red Bull team is still trying to pickup their first win of the season. Their last win came at the August 2009 race at Michigan.

After starting fourth, Brian Vickers was consistent throughout the day. He dropped out of the top-20 around the 100-lap mark, but was later able to gain back track position and eventually pull off an 11th-place finish.

“After battling a tight condition most of the race, we got a little loose at the very end,” Vickers said. “I guess we got greedy with the track bar adjustments. Great calls all day. We could have had a better day with more track position. All in all, it was a step in the right direction.”

In his career, Vickers has earned two poles and three top-10 finishes at Richmond with a best finish of 7th.
Red Bull Rundown: Kahne Looks to Richmond for Chance at Chase Red Bull Rundown: Kahne Looks to Richmond for Chance at Chase Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, September 08, 2011 Rating: 5