Season Review: Kasey Kahne

Kasey Kahne

Kasey Kahne made the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in what turned out to be his final season with Hendrick Motorsports. (Photo: Getty Images)

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2017 Race-by-Race Results | 2017 Detailed Statistics

Kasey Kahne made the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in what turned out to be his final season with Hendrick Motorsports.
 
Kahne was informed in late summer he would be replaced in the No. 5 Chevrolet at Hendrick next season by William Byron, who will move up from the JR Motorsports XFINITY Series team.
 
It officially ended Kahne’s tenure with Hendrick, which began in 2012.
 
Kahne’s last season with Hendrick was sporadic. He struggled to find consistency early in the year and the team seem to lack speed trying to compete.
 
Kasey KahneHowever, the highlight of the campaign came in late July when Kahne scored one of the biggest wins of his career taking the checkered flag in the Brickyard 400. He had to survive a wild overtime finish to do so but Kahne celebrated in an emotional Victory Lane ceremony at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, making the accomplishment even more special.
 
“Indy, I moved here in 1999, live here for three summers, raced Sprint cars, midgets all around the area,” Kahne said. This was the track that I always wanted to win at, and dreamed of racing at. Me and my dad, when we first moved here, we got a shop on Gasoline Alley.  We came over, went to the museum, then got on a bus.  They bused us around the track.  Got to feel the track in a bus.  That was a really cool day.  That was in 1999.  That was a blast to be part of that with my dad.
            
“Then to be able to race here starting in '04.  Came close at winning some races early on, led a lot of laps in '12 or '13.  Was close again.  To pull it off this year, it's unbelievable.”
 
Kahne had hoped to bring confidence and momentum out of his Brickyard performance that would carry him the rest of the season.
 
''All I want to do is win. All I want to do is perform,'' Kahne said. ''My team works really hard as well, but we haven't had the performance. We haven't ran up front. We haven't led a lot of laps. I feel like this is a huge win for us. Being the Brickyard it means even more to me - one of the toughest and biggest races you can win in NASCAR.''
 
The victory earned Kahne a spot in the playoff field, where he joined teammates Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott. Unfortunately it was an early exit from the championship picture for Kahne thanks to an opening round that saw finishes of 21st, 35th and 14th.
 
Kasey KahneKahne finished the season with three top-five and six top-10 finishes and an average finishing position of 19.4 over the 36-race schedule.
 
In 2018, Kahne moves over to Leavine Family Racing and will pilot the team’s No. 95 Chevrolet. He’s hoping a change of scenery and fresh approach will be in the ingredients to better performance and finishes ahead.
 
“I want to thank Leavine Family Racing for this opportunity and will work as hard as possible to help them continue improving,” Kahne said. “I am ready for this challenge and look forward to making a fresh start. Bob and everyone at Leavine Family Racing put a lot into their program and I’m excited to become a part of it.”

Motor Racing Network continues our look at the 16 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoff drivers in 2017 tomorrow with a recap of the season for 14th-place finisher Kurt Busch.

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