Kasey Kahne returns full-time to World of Outlaws sprint cars in 2023
After being sidelined for more than half of his rookie season in the World of Outlaws, Kasey Kahne will once again attempt to run the full 80+ race schedule in 2023 in the No. 9 Kasey Kahne Racing (KKR) car. He will compete alongside four-time defending champion Brad Sweet, who has won all his titles with Kahne’s team.
Last year’s effort to win Rookie of the Year honors was thwarted by hard crashes at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida, Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and Jackson (Minnesota) Motorplex. Kahne made only 29 A-Mains, failing to advance into the big show on another 14 occasions. Those accidents caused Kahne to miss 27 of the 69 Outlaws races that were held in 2022.
Kahne did not win last year, but earned his first career podium at Huset’s Speedway in Brandon, South Dakota after leading 23 of the 30 laps in that feature. He was passed by Spencer Bayston with five laps remaining in that race.
“Getting that first [World of Outlaws] win is obviously at the top of our bucket list, and it would be huge,” Kahne said in a press release. “We’ve been fortunate enough to win so many races with so many drivers at KKR, but I want to be on that list too. It feels incredibly rewarding to win as an owner considering all I’ve put into the sport and continue to put into it, but purely as a race car driver, I want to win myself.
“It’s been a while since I felt that and that feeling is why we do it; it’s why we love racing.”
While Kahne has not yet won with the Outlaws, he has six victories in the All Star Circuit of Champions, which also run 410 sprint cars.
In an Outlaws career that dates back to 1997 when he made three starts on the West Coast tracks of Gray’s Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington and Cottage Grove (Oregon) Speedway, Kahne has made 169 A-Mains with 33 top-10s and five top-fives.
In 2021, filling in for James McFadden while that driver returned to his native Australia for the birth of his child, Kahne scored his third career top-five and 11 top-10s in 32 starts of the 77-race season. Last year was not quite as successful with two six top-10s.
“I feel really, really good,” Kahne said. “I’m excited to go full-time sprint car racing again this year and I feel like personally, I got a lot better last year going this route. We definitely had a lot of ups and downs during 2022, so I’m hoping for a much smoother and more successful season this year.”
Justin Adams will return as Kahne’s crew chief in 2023, along with crew members Brad Tunny and Payton Gries.
The 2023 World of Outlaws season begins February 9-11 with the DIRTCar Nationals at Volusia. One of Kahne’s six All Star wins came at Volusia in 2002.