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.
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.