Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 driver, Kasey Kahne had a great day Sunday, leading 70 laps during the Crown Royal presents the John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Previously, Kahne had 64 laps lead in the entire 19 races previous in the 2014 season.
Is it safe to say that the No. 5 is on the upswing?
As a fan, let’s hope so.
Kahne has multiple reasons to be motivated and hopeful that Indy’s performance is a glimpse of what’s to come for the remainder of the season.
Kasey Kahne’s contract is up at the end of the 2014 season, and while it was announced that primary sponsor of the No. 5, Farmers Insurance has extended its partnership/sponsorship with Hendrick Motorsports, a contract extension was not announced for the No. 5 driver. It’s safe to assume and say that Kahne’s contract extension is riding on the 2014 performance.
Of the four Hendrick drivers, only Kahne is winless. The other three don’t only have a win, they all have multiple wins. No. 48 driver, Jimmie Johnson leads the team with 3 wins (Charlotte, Dover and Michgain). Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jeff Gordon both have a pair of wins (Daytona and Pocono / Kansas and Indianapolis respectively). Plus there’s the close partnership with Stewart-Haas where both Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch both have wins.
So it’s not about power or even setups. No. 5 Crew Chief Kenny Francis has a minimum of 7 other teams to share data, setups and strategies with.
One could argue that over the few years Kahne has been with Hendrick, that he’s had his fair share of being in the wrong place at the wrong place, getting caught up in accidents and having tires go down, but at some point, the driver and the chief chief.
Winless and several DNF’s put Kahne to be the the only driver at Hendrick to miss the 2014 Chase for the Sprint Cup. Kahne and Francis are obviously aware of all of the above and doing what they can to get to Victory Lane, both to make the Chase, but more importantly have a job in 2015.
Best of luck to both at Pocono and beyond.
Inspired by Jayski’s NASCAR Number’s from Indy