The first time I saw Kasey Kahne being profiled before a race some five years ago my first thought was sure he looks good, but can he drive? That day he didn't win but he did prove to be someone to watch in the world of NASCAR. It took just that one race for me to be convinced all the hype surrounding the then twenty three year old young man was deserved.
Born on April tenth of 1980 in Enumclaw Washington Kahne demonstrated racing was not just in his family as he and his brother Kelly raced in micro midget events, but did so very well. Kasey began racing at only sixteen and by the tender age of eighteen he had already become a force on the circuit winning both the Hannigan Speedway Mini-Sports Championship and the Northwest Mini-Sports Championship as well. Suddenly when people used the name Kahne in relation to racing it was understood it was Kasey they were talking about.
After conquering the regional racing scene Kahne turned his eyes to grander conquests and took on the The World of Outlaws, Gumout Racing Series, All-Star Circuit of Champions, and the Northern Sprint Tour winged car series. For anyone to tackle so much is impressive, for an eighteen year old it is nearly unheard of, for Kasey Kahne it was another day at the office. Until 2002 Kahne became a dominating force winning the USAC Midget Tour Championship and garnering the National Midget Driver of the year title in 2000.
The following season Kahne placed his stamp on the sport and proved to the world he was ready to move on. In only eleven events Kahne won four with ten top five finishes. He also put his name in the history books by winning his second consecutive "Night before the 500" race at the Indianapolis Raceway Park. Previously the only driver to ever achieve such a feat was Jeff Gordon and comparisons were immediately made between the two. This led to Kahne earning a part-time NASCAR Busch Series ride in 2001 in which he amazingly picked up a top ten finish at Michigan International Speedway. In 2002 he snatched his first win with fourteen top ten finishes which was good enough for seventh in the point standings. Kasey had arrived and announced he was not a man to take lightly.
With all that early success it was an easy decision for team owner Roy Everham to realize the great potential Kahne had along with his marketable looks to begin grooming young Kasey for the 2004 Nascar Sprint Cup Series. Dividends paid immediately as Kahne won Rookie of the Year by way of thirteen top five finishes which was good enough for thirteenth place in the point cup standings. In 2005 he picked up his first win at Richmond and placed second to Tony Stewart at the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard to cement his name in the consciousness of all race fans. By the end of the 2007 season Budweiser signed on as Kahne's major sponsor which will go a long way to insuring his name and face will be among the first we think of when Nascar is spoken of.
Kahne now makes his home in Mooresville North Carolina where he is single and seemingly intent on keeping it that way, for now at least. With seven Busch Series wins, Seven Nextel Cup Series wins, two Craftsman Truck series wins and a slew of wins in his midget days Kahne is not the man to bet against. Everything he does he does exceptionally well and it would appear as if the racing world is his oyster. In a sport where few make the jump from the mini midget ranks to the Nextel Series, Kahne is a shining example of persistence, hard work, and ultimate belief in ones own abilities.