Kahne fastest at Vegas test

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 30, 2007

By Mike Harris

Associated Press

It didn’t take Kasey Kahne long to decide he likes the reconfigured 1.5-mile oval at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I like these types of tracks,” said Kahne, who led the way in the first of two days of testing with a lap of 184.685 mph.

That’s much faster than Greg Biffle’s pole speed of 172.403 for the 2006 Nextel Cup race at LVMS, thanks mostly to the reconstruction that turned a 12-degree banking into a 20-degree banking on the big oval and moved pit lane closer to the frontstretch grandstands, making for a smoother transition from corner to straightaway.

“You’re going fast,” Kahne said. “We go fast at Charlotte, Texas and Atlanta. There’s a lot of tracks we go fast at. To me, the speed is good. … When we come back here (in March), it’s 80-85 degrees, it’ll slow down the cars some. It’ll just make for a slippery track, and that’ll help the racing.”

All the fastest speeds of the day were turned in the second of two sessions Monday.

Second-year Cup driver Clint Bowyer was close behind Kahne at 184.351, followed by Carl Edwards at 184.206, J.J. Yeley at 183.930, Ricky Rudd at 193.861 and Kahne in a second Evernham Motorsports car at 183.786.

Scott Riggs, who also drives for Evernham, led the morning session at 183.511 but slipped to 15th on the speed chart at 183.343 in the afternoon.

The day wasn’t all good for Kahne, who bounced off the wall in the afternoon session in the Dodge in which he won five of six races last year. Others hitting the wall on Monday were Tony Raines, rookie A.J. Allmendinger, Reed Sorenson and Greg Biffle, who was knocked unconscious and dislocated his right shoulder in a crash during a Goodyear tire test last month.

Biffle escaped injury this time and was 16th quickest for the day at 183.219.

Reigning Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, part of a small contingent of NASCAR drivers who flew to Las Vegas late Sunday after taking part in the Rolex 24, a 24-hour sports car endurance race at Daytona International Speedway, was 22nd fastest at 183.045.