The racing is intense. Everything happens at an accelerated pace. The smallest mistake can cost you so much.

That’s how Kasey Kahne described racing at Talladega. Both Talladega tracks – the Superspeedway and the Talladega Short Track across the street, where the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will be racing, Friday, March 24.

“Any Sprint Car race, it’s so intense and things are happening all the time,” Kahne said. “And the same thing at Talladega (Superspeedway).

“That restrictor plate stuff is so close together. The slightest mistake, you’re in the big one. Definitely different there. But very intense in all of it.”

He spent 15 years running full-time with the NASCAR Cup Series and made 30 starts at the Talladega Superspeedway in that span.

Now, as a full-time World of Outlaws competitor, Kahne, of Enumclaw, WA, said Sprint Car is what he enjoys most. But when he was in NASCAR, restrictor plate racing held that sentiment. He was comfortable with the close-quarters, tense racing, atmosphere both forms of racing produce. And while he stopped short of saying his Sprint Car conditioning helped his restrictor plate racing, Kahne admitted it didn’t hurt.

“You’re relying so much on runs and your spotter and people making the right decisions,” he said about racing at the big track. “It always showed over the years that certain guys, certain spotters understood it a little better and did a better job, and I think that is a completely different kind of racing than Sprint Car race. But the intensity and things can happen so quick at either one of them, that is very similar. Sprint Car races are very intense at all times.”

Kahne’s sole start at the Talladega Short Track came in 2011 – the Series’ last visit to the 1/3-mile Alabama facility. In attendance as driver and race promoter, he finished eighth.

Kasey Kahne
Kasey Kahne pilots the Fuel Me #9 car / Cameron Saich photo

While the Short Track is vastly different than the Superspeedway across the street, it’s still just as fun.

“It’s a neat little track,” Kahne said. “It’s wide and really racy. I raced there once and watched it a few different times. It can be a great place. It can be sketchy running the top. There’s a little cushion there. You can get over that, over the edge and off over. It’s a very cool like track. I’m looking forward to it. Have been.”

A win would be his first at either Talladega track – he finished second twice at the Superspeedway in the Cup Series. And while that’s his goal, he’s mainly focused on keeping his Fuel Me #9 car in the top 10 on a consistent basis.

Kahne earned his second podium with the World of Outlaws at Volusia Speedway Park this year, but has finishes of 11th, 17th, 13th, 16th and 21st in the other five events. However, the Series has only visited two tracks, so far, due to weather cancellations. Talladega will be the third different track of the season. Then, the Series will visit Magnolia Motor Speedway on Saturday, March 25 – where Kahne finished fifth in 2021.

“My biggest thing is to keep getting better as a driver,” he said. “I feel, every so many races, more confident in what I’m doing behind the wheel. I like that. I like feeling more understanding of what’s going on. Things happen quick, so when you don’t think about it and just do it, it seems to always go better. I think I’m getting closer to that, which has been nice.

“I just want to run in the top 10 all the time. That’s no different than anyone else. But all the time I want to be in the top 10. We’re getting closer to that. That’s the biggest thing for me. If we’re there, and running better than that at times, it would be awesome to win some races. But to ultimately run in the top 10 all the time is definitely what we’re shooting for.”

The one-day event at the Talladega Short Track will be a change from the NASCAR weekends at the Talladega Superspeedway, but Kahne said he still expects the same atmosphere.

“I think the fans and the way they support the racing around that area, it’s just a different feel for sure,” he said. “It will be really cool to go race a World of Outlaws race there.”

For tickets to the Friday, March 24, event at the Talladega Short Track, and the Saturday, March 25, event at Magnolia Motor Speedway, CLICK HERE.

If you can’t make it to the tracks, you can watch all the action live on DIRTVision.