By admin | October 11, 2011
By Richard Allen
In the middle of the 2010 season it was announced that Kasey Kahne would drive for power house NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick in 2012. The problem with that was Hendrick Motorsports had no openings in its four cars for the 2011 campaign. So, a place had to be found for the popular driver to apply his skills in the meantime.
Ultimately, Kahne landed at the shops of Toyota’s Team Red Bull for the current season. Essentially entering the year as a lame duck, it would have been easy for the driver to simply kill time as he waited to take his seat with the sport’s premiere organization.
It would have also been easy for his crew members to do the same. It has to be a psychological challenge to give a full effort on a daily basis for a driver whose allegiance lies elsewhere.
Seemingly, any sort of challenge that might arise during the course of the season could create a situation which would cause everyone involved in this effort to fully dismiss this season and look forward to the future. And in a harsh twist of fate, such an occurrence did take place.
Earlier this year, the Red Bull organization announced that they would cease operations of their NASCAR team at the end of the 2011 season. Hardly anyone would have been surprised had this team’s effort come completely unraveled, especially as the end of the season drew closer and closer.
However, the last three weeks have shown that not to be the case. In these most recent Sprint Cup events Kahne has posted finishes of 15th at New Hampshire, 4th at Dover and 2nd in Kansas. The ending of that New Hampshire race was not truly indicative of the performance of car #4 as Kahne led 43 of the 300 laps in that race.
This team and driver have posted top-10 qualifying results in each of those three races as well.
After the Kansas event, Kahne noted his current team’s ability to carry on despite the tough situation all are in. “The biggest thing to me would be to leave on a good note,” he said. “There’s a lot of people there working really hard and unsure about maybe their future and where they’re going to work next year, and they’re still putting everything they have into our race cars each week. That’s pretty awesome on their part.”
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