NASCAR Chase 2012: Kasey Kahne Will Alter Title Race with Win in Kansas

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IOctober 20, 2012

KANSAS CITY, KS - OCTOBER 19:  Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, poses in Victory Lane with Miss Coors Light, Rachel Rupert and the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on October 19, 2012 in Kansas City, Kansas.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Geoff Burke/Getty Images

Much of the attention in this weekend's race at Kansas Speedway will be on the top four drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings, but Kasey Kahne has a golden opportunity to flip the Chase on its head.

Brad Keselowski, Jimmie Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Clint Bowyer are the top four drivers in the standings with Kahne rounding out the Top Five. But the difference between first and fifth is only 35 points, so Kahne is within striking distance with four races left after Kansas.

Kahne got his weekend off to a great start, and it's hopefully a sign of things to come for him. Kahne will start out in the No. 1 pole position on Sunday, and it looks as though he will have the fastest car on the track.

Starting position is important on the repaved track at Kansas Speedway. Eight of the past 13 winners have started at the No. 10 position or higher, with Johnson (2008) and Joe Nemechek (2004) having won in Kansas starting in the No. 1 spot.

Kahne is no stranger to being the pole winner on this track, however.

The 32-year-old has twice started from the No. 1 spot in Kansas, but came up empty in both races back in 2006 and 2010. Clearly, Kahne knows how to run well on this track, he just has to finish when it comes to driving on Sunday.

In 10 total starts in his career at Kansas Speedway, Kahne has notched one top-five finish and four top-10 finishes. At the very least, Kahne will be among the leaders when Sunday's race is all said and done.

To say Kahne is due to win is the understatement of the century. Kahne has two victories this season, but his last came back in June at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Despite not having won a race in the Chase thus far, Kahne has remained competitive with three top-10 finishes and still has a shot to become the Sprint Cup champion this season.

But with five races left in The Chase, Kahne must make his move quickly if he hopes to accomplish such a feat—a win at Kansas would help him do just that.