NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne is based deep in Panthers Country, but the Enumclaw, Wash., native – and friend of Russell Wilson – reps the 12 no matter where he is.
"I kind of like being a Seahawks fan in enemy territory," Kahne said. "There's not quite as many 12s out here as there would be at home, but it's fun to get in those conversations with other fans of other teams, especially Carolina Panthers fans. … There's a lot of arguing and things like that going on, but it's fun to be a Seahawks fan in Carolina."
Kahne, 35, continues to support the Pacific Northwest community, partnering with Wilson to co-host an annual charity event benefitting Seattle Children's Hospital's Strong Against Cancer initiative. The two met after a Seahawks game several years ago and hit it off.
"[Russell]'s from Richmond, Va., so he knew a little bit about racing, about NASCAR, and we decided we wanted to put a charity together," Kahne said. "[It] was great to work with the Seattle Children's Hospital. The DRIVE [has] grown each year and it's been an awesome event."
As the Seahawks prepare to head east for their date with the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, Kahne shares some Seahawks memories and tips for 12s traveling to Charlotte:
Q: How did you become a Seahawks fan?
A: "I became a Seahawks fan through my parents. My dad had two tickets to all the home games when I was growing up, in the Kingdome, and so him and my mom went to a couple of the games. They would go to the Raiders because she was a big Raiders fan … and then he would take myself and my sister and my brother to three games. And I usually went, I think, when we played Denver. I always kind of remember that rivalry, and that was where it all started."
Q: What is your favorite Seahawks memory?
A: "Man, I have a lot of Seahawk memories, but some of the most exciting ones I think [were] Marshawn Lynch, Beast Mode running through the [New Orleans] Saints and they just couldn't bring him down. There were a couple games there when he was doing that all the time. I think those are great memories. Winning the Super Bowl was an unbelievable memory as a Seahawks fan."
Q: Who is your favorite Seahawks player and which jerseys do you own?
A: "I have a few jerseys. I have Russell Wilson's jersey, who's got to be my favorite player. I know Russ and we do some charity work together. Richard Sherman, Marshawn Lynch and Hauschka. Those are the jerseys I have."
Q: If you're in Charlotte for one day, what is one thing you need to see or do?
Q: What's your favorite thing to do in Charlotte?
A: "My favorite thing to do in Charlotte, if I'm not racing, is get out on the lake. Lake Norman's a cool lake, and I have a Malibu Boat, so we do some wake surfing and floating around, just hanging out with friends and stuff like that. It's always a good time."
Q: What's your favorite restaurant in the Charlotte area?
A: "I'd say my favorite restaurant in Charlotte is Cabo Fish Taco, which is right on the outskirts of Charlotte."