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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