Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014 Sprint All-Star Race was shaping up to be a good night for Kasey Kahne. After winning two segments of the race Kahne looked poised to take the No. 5 machine to Victory Lane and collect the $1 million check. However a late wreck caused Kahne to get into the wall and cost him the opportunity to contend for the win, he finished the race 14th. Some might say that this just falls into place with the up and down season that Kahne has had in 2014, although some might say that Kahne is not one of them.
Kahne is actually upset with NASCAR and feels that they were the cause of the wreck that also damaged the No. 31 machine of Ryan Newman.
"NASCAR just didn’t clean the track. They cleaned it after that session. (Ryan) Newman hit it harder than I did. I hit it right behind him. We’re trying to race. These short runs, you’ve got to go, go, go and the track is not capable. I don’t mean to point too many fingers. That’s not our deal, that’s their deal."
The incident that Kahne feels NASCAR did not cleanup after was the wreck that involved Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle and Martin Truex Jr. It was during that wreck that the No. 24 machine of Gordon laid down a good amount of oil on the track. It is the said oil that Kahne feels NASCAR neglected to clean properly.
"They put speedy dry down and they didn’t clean it off and you could also see the oil through the speedy dry. When we got up there, we’re all racing two or three-wide. That’s where I ended up and Newman and we shot into the wall like we hit ice. They cleaned it after the fact."
Kahne is right about one thing for sure and that is that it did look as though they hit ice. NASCAR also released a statement about the cleanup that took place after the wreck involving the No. 24 car as well as the No. 16 and No. 78.
"The caution came out and the track had oil and debris on the surface in Turn 4 onto pit road. Oil was covered up by two clean up trucks and broomed in by the same. Vacuumed up and then blown by jets. Competitors drove past the area in question twice at reduced speed under caution. No drivers or crew chiefs passed along any reservations of the restorations. NASCAR Officials in the pace car confirmed the track was ready. The race was restarted."
So where does that leave us?
Kahne is clearly in the midst of disappointing 2014 that he would like to turn around and may have started to with his run in Kansas. Kahne also had a very dominant looking car Saturday night and most likely felt that he was capable of winning the race and the $1 million check. The wreck was clearly frustrating for him but whether it was a result of NASCAR not cleaning the track or him simply racing hard and getting loose is still up in the air. Regardless the No. 5 team should take solace in the fact that they had a good car and in the end the race means nothing in relation to the season. The big payday would have been nice but I think Kahne would rather this happen this weekend and not next weekend when a regular season win and a spot in the chase is on the line.