Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kahne's Success No Secret for Evernham; Owner Says It Was Just a Matter of Getting the Right People in Place

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kahne's Success No Secret for Evernham; Owner Says It Was Just a Matter of Getting the Right People in Place

Article excerpt

Byline: DON COBLE

CONCORD, N.C. - When Ray Evernham ran out of money trying to buy success in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series last year, he found a business partner in Montreal Canadiens owner George Gillett.

Together they spent another fortune before they finally found the secret to success - people.

The owners sat back Sunday night in the closing laps of the Coca-Cola 600 and let their people do their thing. Kasey Kahne's fast car and crew chief Kenny Francis' patience on pit lane put them in position at Lowe's Motor Speedway. When Tony Stewart blew a tire with three laps remaining in stock car racing's marathon, they gladly accepted the unexpected victory.

Parts and pieces may be important, but the management realized nothing is more valuable than the people working on the cars. Instead of buying new machines and all the latest technology, they concentrated on developing better relationships in the shop - and on the track.

A year of sufferable efforts by all three cars in the Gillett-Evernham Motorsports stables has been replaced by promising results and optimism.

"You learn winning championships isn't about all the latest gadgets," Evernham said. "It's about people. Right now, we've got a good group of people."

Kahne's improbable victory capped a night of bizarre tales for race leaders. Every time somebody ran out front, something bad happened. Kurt Busch (hit the wall), Kyle Busch (faulty battery), Jimmie Johnson (blown engine), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (blown tire and hit the wall), Denny Hamlin (blown tire) and Stewart all led, only to have their momentum turn into a problem.

Stewart was a quarter-mile ahead when the right-front tire on his Toyota blew up in the second turn.

Stewart was so far ahead, Kahne couldn't see what happened.

Less than three laps later, Kahne was driving into Victory Lane with his first regular-season win since 2006.

Added to the all-star win at Lowe's a week earlier, Kahne said other teams may have a different attitude about Gillett Evernham's future.

"It has to change it a lot," he said. …

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