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« Joe Gibbs getting a lot of practice at apologizing to sponsors | Main | Former rivals Yarborough and Waltrip going into NASCAR Hall together »

Kasey Kahne finally has the right owner to make him a title contender

By admin | January 17, 2012

By Richard Allen

 

Kasey Kahne would seem to be a team owner’s dream. He is one of NASCAR’s most popular drivers. He is a proven winner, having scored twelve victories over the course of his Sprint Cup career. And perhaps best of all as far as an owner is concerned, he is highly marketable.

But even with all that he has going for him, Kahne has never really been a serious contender to win a Sprint Cup championship. In eight full time seasons at the sport’s top level, this driver has only qualified for the Chase for the Championship playoff twice. His best finish in the final season standings has been an 8th place result back in 2006, a year in which he won a career high six races.

However, much of the problem for this driver who could be considered a team owner’s dream is that he has never really been paired with the right team owner. In the earliest stages of his career Kahne drove for a team that had been formed by legendary crew chief Ray Evernham. But that team was never quite able to reach the upper echelon of the sport so Evernham brought in a partner in the person of George Gillett.

Unfortunately, the relationship between Evernham and Gillett quickly deteriorated, which almost certainly had an impact on Kahne’s career as his team was mired in turmoil. Evernham eventually left the organization he had formed and Gillett partnered with Richard Petty. This unification proved to be ineffective as well, causing Kahne to seek a way out.

Well over a year ago, the sport’s most prolific owner came to the rescue of the young driver and signed him to a long term contract. The trouble was, Rick Hendrick and his powerful Hendrick Motorsports team had no immediate openings. So, Kahne was again forced to race for a team in transition as he joined forces with Team Red Bull in what seemed to be a somewhat strange year-in-waiting agreement.

Now, however, all of that instability of ownership looks to be behind Kahne as he is fully allied with Hendrick, who will have no limitations in providing the driver with all he needs to contend for race wins and championships.

Kasey Kahne has the talent to win races. He has proven that by even winning for Red Bull in their next to last race as an operating business. All he seems to have ever lacked is the right owner to help him reach the rarified air of championship contender status. Almost certainly, he has that now.

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Topics: Articles |

8 Responses to “Kasey Kahne finally has the right owner to make him a title contender”

  1. Russ Says:
    January 17th, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    Wonder what driver couldn’t be a winner in a HMS car these days? But Kahne certainly has proven in less than the best equipment that he is quick.

  2. headstone Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 6:55 am

    that is what was said about Dale Jr also who has won a championship at hms besides the 24/48… most recently 14 ?

  3. Sue Rarick Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 7:53 am

    Although he is far from a favorite driver of mine, I agree that he should make the Chase and contend for the Championship.

    I think the two most interesting things that the 2012 season will provide is it’s a make it or break it year for a number of drivers. Besides Kahne there is AJ, Kurt, Ragan, Reutimann and Junior.

    The second interesting news will be if a small team like FRM, Phoenix or TBR with their new drivers can be win contenders. If they can it will raise all sorts of questions as to why a sponsor has to shell out 20 million a year when a small team can provide a winner for 1/3 the cost.

  4. Sue Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 11:27 am

    What I find interesting is his running in Nationwide series, for another outfit. Or in NW at all considering this is his first year with a new team to get used to. Even though Kenny F. is familiar, he still has a bunch to get right

  5. ElBobbo Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Every race he wins, and I figure that will be two or three his first year, will be another nail in the career coffin of NA$CARs most popular underachiever, JR. I hope that this will be a wake up call for JR. and he will once again take his responsibility a bit more seriously than he has the past three years. In fact if he worked for me I would let him know that this year is all for him if he does not get with it and start to win, if he can’t win with the very best equipment there is then what is he doing racing for a living ?

  6. Chris Fiegler Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    How Many Races do you think that Kasey Kahne will win this season with Hendrick Motorsports?

  7. Russ Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 8:17 pm

    headstone,
    I’m not sure that everybody is as surprised that Jr. hasn’t won a race as you might think.

  8. Phil Says:
    January 18th, 2012 at 10:56 pm

    He finally has the right owner to make him a contender? Really? Maybe if he hadnt ditched Robert Yates so many years ago he might already have a title or two!!!!