Kasey Kahne Not Returning To Hendrick | Bonehead Picks

Kasey Kahne Not Returning To Hendrick

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What was most likely one of the most expected moves in the Monster Energy Series, Hendrick Motorsports had announced that Kasey Kahne will not serve out the remainder of his contract which supposedly ran through 2018. Despite snapping a 102 race winless streak going back to Atlanta in 2014, winning the Brickyard 400 didn’t appear to be enough to keep him in the 5 car for another season. 2017 is by far his worst year since joining Hendrick with only four top ten finishes in 22 races.

So far with Hendrick in only six seasons, he earned six wins but his top five finishes began to drop after his 2014 win in Atlanta. Only nine total top fives between 2014 and 2016 should have raised some concern even with one of the most strongest teams like Hendrick. Between 2014-15, Kahne had lost longtime crew chief Kenny Francis who was replaced by Keith Rodden and nothing improved afterwards. There was hope at the beginning of 2017 until Kahne went through two streaks of finishing out of the top ten.

First streak was 12th or worst which lasted for seven straight races going back to Las Vegas and after a fifth place finish at Talladega, nine in a row finishing 15th or worst before winning at Indianapolis. Kahne has already started a new streak once again since and was most likely what led up to Hendrick making their decision yesterday. Hendrick will already have a new face with Alex Bowman replacing the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr as he had done proven himself substituting in 10 races and winning the Phoenix pole in 2016.

There are at least two possible replacements for the number 5 car: they could put rookie Xfinity driver William Byron in the car who already has three wins and is second in points by 52 behind leader Elliott Sadler or it could open up another opportunity for Matt Kenseth. Kurt Busch may possibly be another option, but even though Stewart-Haas Racing said they wouldn’t renew his contract doesn’t mean they’re through. A veteran or a hot hand in the Xfinity Series looks like the only scenario up to this point.

Silly season is still far from over and most likely one more seat could open up, but it’s possible it may not be where he wants to go.

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