- Associated Press - Thursday, May 23, 2013

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) - While all eyes will be on Jimmie Johnson and whether or not “Five-time” can pull off the May sweep at Charlotte Motor Speedway, folks shouldn’t forget about Kasey Kahne.

A three-time winner in the Coca-Cola 600, Kahne is expected to be among those competing with Johnson at the end of this marathon race.

While some drivers privately loathe the 600-miler, Kahne embraces it.

“Longer races for me, I feel like I have done a little better in them over the years _ those 500-mile races or 600-mile races,” Kahne said. “It gives you more time to work on your car and kind of fine tune and get it as perfect as you can those last 50 to 100 miles.

“I’ve always really liked the long races. There are times you wish it was over because they get so long. But for whatever reason the 600 has always been one of my favorite races.”

Kahne said good communication with the crew chief is vital in a long race like the Coca-Cola 600.

“We have a good combination that gets the car better and better throughout the race and I think that is what it’s all about in the 600 _ making those adjustments,” Kahne said.

Kahne knows that he’ll have his hands full beating his teammate Johnson, who won Saturday night’s All-Star race and the $1 million first place prize.

The last person to pull off the May sweep at CMS? Well, that was Kahne back in 2008.

“It’s a big deal to win two big races in consecutive weekends,” Kahne said. It felt great doing it. But Jimmy is going to be tough. He will be one of the guys to beat. A lot of things he did last week (at the All-Star race) will work well on Sunday.”

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