FONTANA, Calif. — Kasey Kahne waited nearly two years between signing with NASCAR's winningest team and finally climbing into his new ride.
So far, the wait was hardly worth it.
Kahne opened the season with a month of wrecks, mistakes and disappointing results for Hendrick Motorsports, culminating in a collision with Regan Smith that ruined last week at Bristol. He's 32nd in the Sprint Cup Series points standings, and his car is down to 34th in owner points, theoretically putting Kahne in position to lose a guaranteed spot in the field if he has another wreck or awful performance Sunday at Auto Club Speedway.
It's a tense situation to navigate so early in the NASCAR season, but the former boy wonder still radiated quiet confidence while working with his team at his hauler in Fontana.
"I would be (down) if my cars were slow, but everything has been so good," Kahne said. "My team is so good. There's really no reason to be down, other than we're not in the position we want to be in."
Even though Kahne has had more knee surgeries (three) than Sprint Cup victories (one) since September 2009, he's determined to get his season back on track in Fontana, where he qualified fifth Friday on the track where he won in 2006.
Such is the self-confidence of the former Rookie of the Year from Enumclaw, Wash., who has earned 12 wins and more than $49 million before his 32nd birthday next month.
"Some of it may be bad luck, and then some of it may be me making mistakes," Kahne said. "Some of it's been luck, and I've messed up, but wrecking has been the problem. Everyone in NASCAR has wrecks. As far as the racing stuff, from the cars to the pit stops to the team and the engines, the car is awesome."
Kahne wrecked out of the Daytona 500, finishing 29th. He got into the wall early in Phoenix, saying he "made a big mistake," and finished 19th in Las Vegas despite setting the track speed record when he qualified on the pole.
Logano wins Nationwide race
FONTANA, Calif. (AP) — Joey Logano kept Joe Gibbs firmly entrenched in Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway.
Logano won the Nationwide Series race Saturday, holding off Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Brad Keselowski in an entertaining finish to Joe Gibbs Racing's eighth consecutive Nationwide win at the track.
The youngest winner in Nationwide history three years ago now has 10 victories at the ripe old age of 21. Logano is the first Sprint Cup Series driver to win a Nationwide race this season.