Kasey Kahne appears in Niles

Published 6:09 am Monday, August 21, 2006

By By SCOTT NOVAK / Dowagiac Daily News
NILES – Literally hundreds of race fans stood in line, some for more than three hours, Friday night to see NASCAR sensation Kasey Kahne.
Kahne appeared at the Niles Rural King on behalf of Remington Racing.
Kahne, who was fresh from a 15th place qualifying effort at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn Friday afternoon, drew a pair of names for tickets to Sunday's race.
He also autographed memorabilia and signed 400 autographs for those who purchased Remington items and received a wrist band.
Kahne helicoptered in from MIS following his qualifying effort.
He arrived in Niles shortly after 7 p.m., landing next to the store to the delight of the fans.
Kahne, who was the winner at Michigan International Speedway back in June, is hoping to repeat on Sunday in the GFS Marketplace 400.
The winner of four races already this season, he sits just outside the top 10 in NEXTEL Cup points. The top 10 drivers, plus any driver within 400 points of the leader after the first 26 races, qualify for NASCAR's version of the playoffs.
The Chase for the Cup begins just four races from Sunday.
Kahne was looking good in the points chase up until the final lap of the last two races.
Involved in wrecks at Indianapolis and Watkins Glen, Kahne now trails Dale Earnhardt Jr. for 10th place by 54 points.
"We can't have any more bad races this year," Kahne said before heading out to sign autographs. "If we do what we did in the first four races when we were at these tracks earlier in the year, we'll be right back in there."
Kahne knows he can have a good day at Michigan after having one there back in June, but he also knows it can all go up in smoke like it has the past two races.
Being good and being lucky are a thin line that he must walk on Sunday. He feels, however, that Michigan is the type of track that allows a good-handling race car to pass people.
"We've been struggling a little bit, but I think we will get back to where we need to be and get a solid run in and then look forward to Bristol."
Even though Kahne was the race winner in June, he has been somewhat overshadowed this weekend at MIS by the addition of Elliott Sadler to the Evernham stable of drivers.
Sadler replaced Jeremy Mayfield earlier this week in the No. 19 Dodge and qualified second for Sunday's race.
Sadler had to qualify by time and left no doubt that his move from Robert Yates Racing to Evernham Motorsports will be a good fit.
Kahne said he will enjoy working with his new teammate.
"Just happy to have him," Kahne said of Sadler. "We have a teammate that is going to be there for a while. Sadler, he qualified second and did awesome today in his first day on the job. It should be fun working with him."
Kahne told the large crowd gathered to see him Friday night that it was always nice to get out and meet the fans.