By admin | September 7, 2010
By Richard Allen
I have followed NASCAR racing for as many of my 42 years as I can remember and I have to say that Kasey Kahne is in one of the stranger situations of any driver I can ever recall.
When the announcement was made back in April of this year that Kahne would drive the #5 car for Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, he was essentially made into a lame duck driver for two seasons with two different teams.
With still more than two-thirds of the 2010 schedule remaining at the time of that announcement, the Enumclaw, Washington driver had made it known he would not be returning to Richard Petty Motorsports next season. But also, since he would not be able to immediately assume a place at HMS, he would come into whatever situation presented itself in 2011 as an immediate lame duck.
So, what does a driver in such an odd situation have to race for over the next eleven weeks, especially considering that driver has no chance of winning the championship?
Consider this, Kahne has been the driver of the red #9 car since 2004. He has gone through a series of ownership changes from Ray Evernham Motorsports to Gillett- Evernham Motorsports to Richard Petty Motorsports. He, not the ownership, has been the rock of stability for that particular organization, or organizations.
While his tenure has been one of decent success with eleven race wins and two Chase runs, it would seem appropriate that he win at least once more before Marcos Ambrose takes the reins of that car. A win would go a long way toward leaving a positive taste in everyoneâ€™s mouth at the end of his seven year tenure in the only Sprint Cup ride he has ever had.
Before Kahne moves over to Team Red Bull to begin his second lame duck stint in as many years, he will be racing for the pride of himself, his team and for his legacy as the driver of what has become one of the sportâ€™s most recognizable machines.
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Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.
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