Kasey Kahne – Three Years of Change

Kasey Kahne at Chicagoland Speedway

In the midst of a tumultuous year at Richard Petty Motorsports, Kasey Kahne found himself looking at free agency at the end of the 2010 season. Richard Petty Motorsports, as it is known today, is the only team Kahne had worked with, since starting his Cup career in 2004. The team was then known as Evernham Motorsports. In early April, Kahne announced he would be leaving the organization and had signed with Hendrick Motorsports for the 2012 season. The announcement left many wondering where Kasey would go for the one year interlude between 2010 and 2012. The answer came in early August when it was revealed, he would join Red Bull Racing for one year. Kasey and the entire #9 team soldiered on as normal for the 2010 season. The team had its ups and downs, plagued by part failures and on track accidents. Following an incident between Kahne and the RPM organization at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kasey was released October 20, 2010. He then joined Red Bull for the final four races of the season, driving the #83 car.

When the 2011 season opened, again many wondered what would happen with Kasey given the past history of the second car at Red Bull, as well as the fact, he would be with the organization for only one year. The season start was a bit of struggle as the team tried to find their rhythm. Although they did begin to find a rhythm, the team failed to make the Chase.

The #4 Red Bull Racing car at Chicagoland Speedway 

When the Chase began, the now #4 team, started showing their hand and what they could accomplish, had they made the sport’s version of the playoffs by knocking out top fives and top tens. With two races remaining in the season, Kasey and his team brought an end to his 81 race winless streak, scoring a victory on the repaved surface of Phoenix International Raceway; a track he struggled with in the past. The season ending race at Homestead resulted in another top ten finish and a top fifteen in the points. Kasey’s year at Red Bull was highlighted by two poles and his win at PIR.

Kasey Kahne moves to Hendrick Motorsports next season, bringing with him crew chief Kenny Francis and team engineer Keith Rodden. Both Francis and Rodden have been with him since 2006, helping him with two Chase berths in 2006 and 2009, and eleven of his twelve wins. With the success of the trio in the closing weeks of 2011, fans have high hopes for what will come in 2012. With Kenny guiding the #5 team and Kasey at the wheel, there are high expectations of what this team will do with Hendrick chassis and power under the hood. They have proven their ability to win and with good equipment, a championship could be well within their grasp next year.

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