Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Local Boy Done Good Again!

So I know I should stay away from the “R-Word” as in RASSCAR… But I’m feeling compelled to write the following story for my 88 ½ year old “Auntie” Harriet who recently took a nasty fall that resulted in a cracked rib and very sore lower back, Aye Karumba!

You see, she’s probably one of Kasey Kenneth Kahne’s most vigilant supporters, as Kasey is a local boy from the town of “Een-um-Scratch” (Enumclaw, WA; Population: 11,010 ) and by-gum, they even have a “Big Time Mega” QFC grocery store there… Where we stopped for replenishment of supplies on our long meandering trip home from Eastern, Washington, as Auntie Harriet repeatedly asks; “You mean that little boy from Enumclaw WON Again? Those Big Boyzs really must NOT like him!”

Well actually there are two Homegrown Boyzs currently tearin’ up the Rextail Spirit Cup series (Smells like Teen Spirit, eh? Performed by none other than Kirk “shotgun” Cobain formerly of Aberdeen, WA) at the moment, the aforementioned Kasey Kahne and Gregory Jack Biffle, a.k.a. “The Biff,” (Vancouver, WA) but we’ll stick to the esteemed man of the moment, Casey DON’T SLOW ‘dat Dodge Down “No. 9” Kane… Although Mary Ellen says that “The Biffster” gets her vote in lieu of his outstanding charity work for Canine’s thru The Greg Biffle Foundation.

And having just read Kasey’s bio, it struck me that he was the second driver the Blue Oval let slip thru its cracks… As another notable youngster by the name of Jeffery “Pretty Boy” Gordon was also a member of the Ford Motor Company’s racing fraternity before his rise to Super-stardom. Interestingly this is just one of the many coincidences that Kasey shares with Gordon…

Kasey cut his motor racing teeth at the age of 17 when he began competing in Open Wheel Sprint Cars at Deming Speedway in the little town of Deming, WA, (Population: 210; 2000 Census) where from Deming, Kahne graduated to Skagit Speedway, where he won the Annual Jim Raper memorial Dirt Cup three times and currently holds the record for fastest lap.

In 2000, Kasey drove Midgets for Steve Lewis, who’d previously employed Sprint Cup drivers Jeff Gordon and Kenny Irwin Jr. where Kahne not only took Rookie of the Year honours, but also won the USAC National Midget Championship. Kasey continued in Midgets, along with racing in the World of Outlaws and Toyota Atlantics series before graduating to the Busch Cup where he drove 20 races for Robert Yates.

In 2003 Kahne switched to Akin Motorsports where he claimed his first career pole and victory in the Busch series and also made two starts in the Craftsman Truck series in a Dodge and was victorious in both attempts. At the end of 2003, “Awesome Bill from Dawsonville” (B. Elliot) made the announcement that he’d be seeking a limited CUP schedule in 2004 and Kasey was promptly snapped up by Ray Evernham for his Evernham Motorsports organization, which were campaigning Dodges. As Kasey was still under contract to Ford a lawsuit entailed, which eventually saw a cash donation made to the Blue Oval while Kahne went onto capture the ’04 Rookie of the Year title on the basis of his strong results which included a staggering five second place finishes and four poles. Ironically Evernham was the crew chief and guiding force that led the “Rainbow Warriors” who took Jeff Gordon to four Sprint Cup titles…

In 2005, Kasey scored his maiden CUP victory at Richmond, VA, before having his best Sprint Cup season to date, when in 2006 he scored an impressive six victories and beat out Tony Stewart for the final title chase position by a mere handful of points before winding up eighth overall. 2007 was a disappointing year after these lofty accomplishments, yet as we now know, Kasey rebounded nicely as he’s currently one of the hottest drivers in RASSCAR… When the fans voted him into this year’s All Star race, Kasey and his team didn’t let them down as he became the very first voted in driver to win the million dollar event, which guarantees the winner an automatic berth for the following 10yrs. Kasey then added his name to the record books 8 days later, when with two laps remaining “Smoke” (T. Stewart( cut a tire and Kahne swept by to win the Charlotte 600, becoming only the sixth driver to “Do the Double.” Continuing on his hot streak, Kasey secured his third career pole at Pocono before going onto win his ninth CUP event and has won three of the last four races… (Including the All Star event)

Kahne has also won seven Nationwide (Busch) series events to date and has formed Kasey Kahne Racing to field entries in the World of Outlaws, USAC Sprint Car and USAC Midgets series and is also actively involved in charitable work along with serving on the President’s Council, while in his spare time he pilots the #9 Budweiser Allstate Dodge racecar for Gillett Evernham Motorsports, which also fields CUP entries for Elliot Sadler and Patrick “Pat the Carpenter” Carpentier…

So, Auntie Harriet; “This Bud’s for you!”