"Those are the greatest moments as a race car driver or competitor that you can go through," he said. "I just feel fortunate that not only did we win, but the event I told you about at Hendrick and to be able to go there and have the whole organization patting you on the back and saying thank you and shaking your hand; to get that opportunity and then to have the birthday party where you're around your closest friends and family and have those same kinds of conversations, it just doesn't get much better than that."
By Mark Ashenfelter
By Mark Ashenfelter
If Kasey Kahne rallies to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, he'll have a familiar face to thank.
When Ray Evernham returned to a competition role at Hendrick Motorsports, much of it was undefined. As Kahne struggled to start the season, owner Rick Hendrick asked Evernham to spend time with the No. 5 team.
Kahne welcomes the attention, saying Evernham -- who brought him to the Cup level when he owned Evernham Motorsports -- brings out the best in him.
"I really like working with Ray because he holds you to your part. He makes you step up. He makes you know," Kahne said Friday at Pocono Raceway. "He talks to you about the things you did right and the things you didn't do right. You are accountable for that when he's around.
"It's nice to have someone like that. He gives me confidence. Every time he's at the racetrack, we run better. When he's with my team, with [crew chief] Kenny Francis, with myself, and I think that is just because he's been really good to me in the past, yet he's been tough on me at times, too. There haven't been too many people that have really held me accountable over the years."
Kahne says Evernham's strength is finding ways to get Kahne to communicate better with his team, whether that's by poring over notes from previous races at a track or by simply showing up with a better frame of mind.
With four top-10 finishes in the past six races, Kahne, although winless on the season, sits 15th in points with six races before the Chase field is set. He's just four points behind Austin Dillon, the last winless driver who'd make the 16-driver field as it now stands.