Kahne's Korner: A police escort to look forward to
A policeman from California, a bad weekend in Las Vegas, love for Atlanta and the Car of Tomorrow. Kasey Kahne explains how it all adds up in his diary.
It's not every day you get to spend time with a policeman in Las Vegas and be happy about it.
The winner of the "Kasey Kahne Dream Job" contest was announced before Sunday's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and it went to David Metzger, a policeman from Freemont, Calif.
A lot of people (more than 20,000) entered and they narrowed it down to the final three -- Metzger, Kelli Quattlebaum of Greenville, S.C., and Eric Coates of Dubuque, Iowa -- who we flew to Vegas to be narrowed to one.
Metzger will spend the weekend as my assistant for the race at Darlington in May. It'll be exciting to have somebody see what it's like on a race weekend with me, what we do and where we go.
I understand he's a former Mark Martin fan. He came off as a real sharp guy and it should be cool with his background as a police officer. I certainly shouldn't have to worry about anything. He's a pretty big guy.
They said his advice to me would be to drive fast and keep all four wheels on the ground. That could have helped a lot last weekend at Las Vegas.
We had top-10 cars in the Busch Series and Nextel Cup races and spun them both out near the end.
In the Busch race, I screwed up. We had a hard tire to race on -- a really hard tire to race on -- and I just lost control. Then, on the Cup side, we were having another good race when David Gilliland took the air off of my car and sent me spinning.
He was two laps down and we were going for the win. He just needs to think more before he puts his car in a position like that against a better car.
He didn't hit me. He just took all the air out. When you're two laps down with less than 10 laps to go there's no reason to mess with the leaders. There's no reason to try to race me at that point.
That's about as frustrating as it can get. We were super fast. We just have to figure out how to get through it and do better at Atlanta.
I'm looking forward to Atlanta. I won this race last year and it's a great track for me, although I feel comfortable now about everywhere we go.
I like the way the tires fall off there, the way the cars slide around, the way you can move the car around on the track to find places where it handles better than others. It just suits my driving style better than any other track.
It's a fast track -- really fast and slippery. But it's slippery where you can still feel the tires and the grip -- a different type of slippery than we had at Vegas.
Some say they don't like qualifying at night when we're racing during the day, but I like it. The car has more grip and it'll go even faster. We still get plenty of practice for the race during the day.
I don't have much going on off the track. I'm completely focused on driving and doing what is needed to get a good finish so we can go to Bristol for the big Car of Tomorrow race.
You can't help but look ahead to that race. You just have to put so much time into that car because it's so much different than what we drive now. We may go to another track next week and get in one more test.
Evernham Motorsports is doing a good job with the car. It just takes so much time to get it ready. It hasn't been a distraction for me, but it's definitely a lot of work for the employees and the crews.
We basically go to Bristol and then Martinsville and then to the Richmond test, all in a matter of 2½ weeks with two different cars.
People are putting tons and tons of hours into this. I really appreciate how everybody has stepped up to get it right.
Kasey Kahne is the driver of the No. 9 Dodge Dealers Dodge and a 26-year-old native of Enumclaw, Wash. Kahne will take ESPN.com readers inside his life on and off the track each week with the help of writer David Newton.
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