Kasey Kahne discussed his new role as an underdog on Wednesday at the 36th annual NASCAR Media Tour. Kahne has experienced the highs and lows of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series racing in a career approaching its 15th season.
He came into the sport as a phenom. He started out at Evernham Motorsports and drove as a factory driver for Dodge. From there he went to Robert Yates racing when Yates retired, became a Toyota driver at Red Bull for a season awaiting an offer from Hendrick Motorsports, and left HMS when the youth movement gained momentum, but there were some highs.
There weren’t many, though – save for a win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year – in the late stages of Kahne’s tenure at Hendrick Motorsports, so Kahne looks forward to the fresh opportunity presented to him by his new team, Leavine Family Racing.
“I’ve had a lot of experience throughout the years, being with different teams and different manufacturers but this year, every single person is new,” Kahne said. “It’s a fresh start. For me, it’s something that I feel like I can contribute to. My whole mindset is about the relationships and doing things together.
“It’s a small group compared to what I’ve had the last six years and it’s a group of people who want to go in the same direction. I feel like if we do that and we work together to make the No. 95 the best car it can be, we’ll have some success.”
Kahne’s crew chief, Travis Mack, left his role as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s car chief at Hendrick to run the pit crew at LFR.
“He works hard,” Kahne said of Mack. “He’s really into Cup cars and being a crew chief. I think that having a young guy who’s super excited and enthusiastic will be good for our team the whole season.”