This is Kasey Kahne’s 10th year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and it seems that the Kahne we saw winning left and right early in his career is back and better than ever. Kasey is more mature now, has much more experience and is with the best team in NASCAR. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Kasey hoisting the Cup at Homestead this November.
When Kasey first started in 2004, he drove for Ray Evernham and was literally inches away from winning in just his second start. He lost the Rockingham race by just 10 thousandths of a second to Matt Kenseth. He finished 2nd 5 times in his rookie year but victory lane eluded him. He finished 13th in the standings and also won ROTY honors. Kahne won his first race at Richmond in 2005 and in 2006; he captured the checkered flag 6 times which was more than any other driver.
The ownership of Kasey’s NSCS team changed hands twice during a period of 3 years. With an environment around him not ideal for any driver, Kasey continued to soldier on and keep winning although it seemed he hadn’t reached his true potential. In 2010, people were hearing rumors that the team was going into bankruptcy and Kasey decided that it was time to go someplace else. He signed with Hendrick Motorsports in a strange deal made in 2010 that would place him in the HM #5 for the 2012 season. In 2011, he would drive for Red Bull Racing.
RPM fired Kasey Kahne after the fall 2010 Charlotte race when he refused to get back into his wrecked car. He immediately joined Red Bull for the remainder of the season. A few races after his release, it seemed that RPM was doomed. I won’t go into all the details but to put it plainly, the team had no money and was on their last leg. The haulers stayed in a parking lot outside Texas Motor Speedway until Wednesday when they were told to go to Phoenix.
After Kahne’s 1 year run with RBR that produced 1 win, he joined Hendrick Motorsports. Kasey won 2 races including the Coke 600 and finished a career high, 4th in the standings in 2012. That is what happens when you take a driver that hasn’t reached their full potential and throw them into the best ride in NASCAR.
The young superstar has had plenty of time to get comfortable at Hendrick and it seems that the team is ready to win in 2013. He dominated Las Vegas but was unable to pass Matt Kenseth late in the race for the victory. The very next weekend, he wins at Bristol. His communication with crew chief and friend, Kenny Francis is as strong as the Kanus/Johnson pairing and he is in his 30’s which is considered the prime of most drivers’ careers. This has all the makings of a team that could win the championship in my eyes. Kahne is usually never involved in any controversies and quietly gets the job done every week. I know it’s early but I truly believe that the Kasey Kahne will be a very serious contender for the title in 2013.