Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports’ Struggles Continue

It’s no secret that Kasey Kahne has struggled to contend for wins in the past three seasons. In his last 84 starts, Kahne has just one win, eight top five finishes and an average finish of 17.3. Those certainly doesn’t sound like the numbers of a Hendrick Motorsports driver.

Beyond Kahne’s struggles, it seems as though HMS, in general, is down this season,thanks mainly to Joe Gibbs Racing. The only driver that is a true threat this season at the organization, is, of course, Jimmie Johnson; he’s the only Hendrick driver to win in 2016.

There’s no question that Chase Elliott has turned some heads, he’s been consistent each week, but he hasn’t truly battled for a win yet this season though he’s been knocking on the door.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. remains winless this season, averaging a 15th place finish. He’s had three runner-up finishes, those coming at Atlanta, Texas and Bristol. His runner-up finishes though have been overshadowed by the seven races he’s finished outside of the top 10.

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Don’t get me wrong, Hendrick Motorsports is still a threat to win each weekend, but the new dynasty in NASCAR in recent years is Joe Gibbs Racing. Including the races that have taken place this season and last, Joe Gibbs Racing has combined for an impressive 21 wins in 48 races; that’s almost half of the races. HMS has just 11 wins in those same 48 races, still not bad, but not even close to the new powerhouse in NASCAR.

That aside, back to Kahne.

Since Stewart-Hass  Racing announced their move to Ford in 2017, there has been a lot of speculation that Kevin Harvick might jump ship to HMS next season to stick with Chevy, presumably taking over for Kahne. Harvick quickly put those rumors to bed on Twitter denying any truth to them.

Since those rumors have been squashed for the time being, another question remains. Is Kahne safe at Hendrick? Even with their struggles to find speed this season, Kahne is still the odd man out at HMS. In my opinion, Kahne hasn’t proven much while being at Hendrick Motorsports since joining in 2012. The only thing he’s proven is that he is not a real threat during the season or in the Chase.

Although Harvick has denied a move to Hendrick, sometimes there is truth to rumors. I’m not saying Harvick is moving to HMS, however, you have to wonder if Kahne’s years at Hendrick are numbered and if a possible buyout is on the horizon. If Kahne doesn’t turn it around, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a new face behind the wheel of the No. 5 car in the near future.

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. It is sad that money controls everything in America. Toyota is dumping 100’s of thousands of $’s into NASCAR and are buying their way to the top. Seven Toyota’s
    running each week and have the most wins vs the other 33 cars. Ford sees what is
    required to move up so now they are buying into the system to win their share.
    My other gripe is the fact that the 2 and 22 will never be penalized. Kes is apparently sitting next to Brian in his office helping him make the decisions.

  2. Just for comparison sake. Kahne’s 1st 4 years at Hendricks: 5 wins and 28 top 5s. Dale Earnhardt Jrs 1st 4 years at Hendricks: 1 win and 21 top 5s. What were you saying about Junior during those years? From 2009 through 2011 Junior had a total of zero wins and 11 top 5s. In 2012 and 2013 Kahne had more wins and more top 5s than Junior. How can this be? Guess HMS should have fired Junior, huh?

  3. Seems all dynasty’s are anointed by the size of their check to Brian. Look at Jesus Joe’s team. Toys could not get it done for YEARS. Engines go Boom, Toys get mad. Presto Hp reduced to mimic the kiddie series. Doesn’t take someone to wear a tin foil hat to cry conspiracy, common sense goes a long way. Daytona Rising anyone? NASCAR’s biggest race sponsor, anyone???? Doubt you will print this, all good sheep don’t like the truth.

    • If you actually think NASCAR is “fixing” the game for Toyota, stop beating around the bush and say it.

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