90% of the time, I am categorized as a fashion blogger. I'm fine with it, since most of my posts have something to do with style, but I consider myself a lifestyle blogger. There are so many amazing people and things about the Pacific Northwest, and I want to share those insights with you whenever I can.
Kasey Kahne is one of those people. I had the opportunity to interview the professional race car driver, who grew up south of Seattle in Enumclaw, last week as he was prepping for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. I used to live not far from the Seattle International Raceway (SIR) and heard about Kasey way back when. Admittedly, I don't know much about NASCAR or the world of race car driving, but I know that Kasey has made a name for himself since his Enumclaw days. I'm always down to learn about a culture that captivates so many, and I was curious to see what Kasey's been up to lately. My interview is the first of a series of NASCAR-related blog posts. Enjoy my conversation with Kasey Kahne!
2012 Charlotte May NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race
FJ: How did you get into professional race car driving?
KK: I started when I lived in Enumclaw. My dad worked on sprint cars and I went with him to the Skagit Races. I guess I've always wanted to drive; I got my first race car at 14 and started working on sprint cars & dirt cars from there. I've had a lot of great opportunities and just drove in the right races, at the right times with the right people watching.
FJ: What (or who) inspired you to pursue your dreams?
KK: I've always been motivated from my passion for racing, since I was young. That was all that was on my mind growing up. I always want to be better, to excel, and grow.
2012 Las Vegas March NSCS Practic
FJ: You created the Kasey Kahne Foundation* to give back to disadvantaged youth & chronically ill children. Do you have any specific KKF kids or events that have especially touched you?
KK: There's definitely been a lot of moments over the years where you meet different kids. We've done events at children's hospitals and had Make-a-Wish Foundation kids come out to the races. Those moments make you think about things. It's awesome to spend time with them. We try to come up with different events and do fun things to bring smiles to their faces. It gives them an opportunity to do things they don't normally get to do. Our 5Kahne (annual) race is coming up in Charlotte this Sunday. It's a 3.1mi run surrounding NASCAR Hall of Fame.
*In 2006, Kasey was appointed by President Bush to serve as a member of the President's Council on Service & Civic Participation. (Go, Kasey!) Through that, he strives to bring awareness to the importance of volunteering & giving back to the community.
The Kasey Kahne Foundation has raised & donated funds for: Ronald McDonald House; Make-a-Wish; NC Stem; Cornerstone Schools in Detroit, MI; Victory Junction; The Red Cross; Kevin Gobrecht Memorial Fund; Lilly School; & The Charlotte Bobcats Foundation.
2012 Martinsville March NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
FJ: What are your thoughts on social media? (Which sites are you/your team active on? Do you like any one more than others?)
KK: I have a team, but I do my own Twitter. I have a lot of cool race fans that follow it. It's fun, because they can see some things they wouldn't normally see or hear about. What my sprint car team is doing, how the races are going.
FJ: What do you see for the future of racing? (or what would you like to see?)
KK: I'm in a great spot right now. We have great sponsors and partners. I've been racing for a long time now. I feel like I need to just win races and contend for championships. I'm ready for that stuff and to be a part of it. It allows my three sprint car teams and two World of Outlaws teams the opportunity to win races and championships themselves.
2012 New Hampshire July NASCAR Sprint Cup Victory Lane
FJ: Do you make it back to the Pacific Northwest often?
KK: I make it back about once a year, when I can. It's tough because you don't get to see friends you grew up with as much. They all started having kids and stopped coming to the races! It's nice to be home to hang out and see everyone.
All photos credit Getty Images