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Saturday, March 1, 2008
Updated: March 2, 2:35 PM ET
Kahne fights cold by posting fastest Happy Hour lap

By Terry Blount
ESPN.com

LAS VEGAS -- Kasey Kahne was suffering through a sinus infection Saturday, but the illness didn't stop him from posting the fastest lap in Happy Hour.

Kahne turned a lap at 176.586 mph in the No. 9 Dodge, an encouraging sign after a difficult day Friday. Kahne brushed the wall in the first practice session at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The scrape did minor damage to the car that was repaired earlier in the week after he scrubbed the wall during the Auto Club 500 Monday. To fix the damages after that scrub, the team did some body repairs on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Las Vegas shop of truck racer Brendan Gaughan.

They were back in repair mode Friday, which probably affected Kahne's qualifying lap. Kahne will start 37th Sunday in the UAW-Dodge 400.

Kahne decided to skip the Sam's Town 300 Nationwide race Saturday because of his illness. Gillett Evernham Motorsports teammate Patrick Carpentier replaced Kahne in the No. 9 Nationwide entry.

"After the first [Cup] practice, we knew we might do something to allow Kasey the time to get better for Sunday's race," said Mark McArdle, vice president of competition for GEM. "He's been taking fluids and getting plenty of rest."

McArdle said they have Nationwide Series driver Jason Keller on stand-by just in case Kahne can't drive Sunday or needs to get out of the car before the end of the race.

Bowyer Wrecks, Switches To Backup Car

Clint Bowyer will go to a backup car and start in the back for Sunday's UAW-Dodge 400 after wrecking in the final practice session Saturday.

Bowyer hit the wall in the No. 07 Chevy before sliding back down the track and clipping the front end of Kyle Petty's car. Petty's damage was minimal, so he'll stick with the primary No. 45 Dodge.

Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at terry@blountspeak.com.

Edwards Likes His Chances

Carl Edwards

Edwards

Carl Edwards is trying to take up where he left off Monday. Edwards, who won the rain-postponed Auto Club 500 at Fontana, was No. 2 on the speed chart Saturday in the final practice session for the UAW-Dodge 400.

"I think our odds are pretty good at being able to win here," Edwards said. "Jimmie [Johnson] and those guys have some way of pulling things out here at the end, but hopefully we can be the guys to stop them."

Edwards was one of only two Fords in the top 10 in Happy Hour. Greg Biffle was eighth in the No. 16 Fusion.

Three of the four Hendrix Motorsports drivers ranked in the top six in Happy Hour. Jeff Gordon finished fourth, Johnson was fifth and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sixth.

Tire Talk

Drivers have had a hard time this weekend keeping the new car from fishtailing out of the turns and sliding into the wall. So what's wrong?

"Hard tire," Martin Truex Jr. said. "The same thing that's wrong with my car every time I come here with these tires on the new asphalt. We just can't figure out how to get any grip.

"The car is real, real evil to drive. It just snaps loose whenever it feels like it. I think a lot of people fight the same thing, but we've never really figured anything out."