Kasey Kahne Heating Up as Summer Arrives

Billy FellinCorrespondent IJune 9, 2009

LONG POND, PA - JUNE 06:  Kasey Kahne #9 drives the #9 Budwiser Dodge during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 500 on June 6, 2009 at Pocono International Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

As we enter the summer months, both the weather and some of the drivers are heating up on the NASCAR circuit.

One of these drivers is easily Kasey Kahne. After debuting the new Dodge R6 engine at Dover, Kahne has had two consecutive good outings, something that he has not been good at doing so far this year.

At Dover, Kahne qualified second and had a strong car all day long, but did not lead any laps. However, his car looked quite a bit stronger than his car has practically all year long. He climbed back after a misstep on pit road, and managed to finish sixth.

This was Kahne's second best finish of the season.

He only bettered it at Bristol with a fifth place, his only top five of the year.

At Pocono, where Kahne won last year, the Budweiser Dodge has throttle problems at the start of the race, but the team was able to bounce back.

Kahne was in second place to Tony Stewart with around 20 laps to go before he had to stop for fuel. This was very unfortunate for Kahne because he was gaining on Stewart and, if he had the gas in the tank and could have stayed out, might have caught Stewart.

Kahne's car emulated the car's moniker, Charger, as he charged to the front through the Pocono 500. Unfortunately, Kahne's finishing position on 14th doesn't show this that well.

Going into Michigan, where Kahne is the defending champion of the race, he is 14th in the standings, only 60 points out of the 12th place cut line for the Chase.

If Dover and Pocono's strong runs and Kahne's past success are any indication, he very well might be looking at another strong performance for the third week in a row.

If Kahne can come up with a strong performance at Michigan, he very well could find himself above the Chase cut line.

Kahne's performance at Michigan, as well as the rest of the summer swing, very well could be make-or-break for him to make the Chase.

I still think that Kahne will make the Chase, but he really has to be consistent over the next few races, being past the halfway mark to the start of the Chase.