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Did Rick Hendrick Sign NASCAR’s Most Disappointing Driver?

Posted by chadmusselman on April 17, 2010

Does NASCAR’s silly season get more and more silly each year, or what?  Now we have Kasey Kahne signing with Rick Hendrick for the 2012 season, and we’re not even a quarter of the way through 2010!  The real funny thing is that Kasey doesn’t have a contract for 2011. 

Who’s going to sign him for one season?  I sure wouldn’t considering he may be the most disappointing driver in NASCAR.  My guess is that Dale Earnhardt Jr. will bring Jr. Motorsports up to the Cup level next year and give Kasey a ride.  Rick Hendrick owns half of Dale’s operation already so ownership wise, it would make sense.

If the poll on this site is any indicator, the fans feel that Kasey Kahne is the most disappointing driver of 2010.  Let’s not just go on gut feeling about this one though.  Let’s take a look at some stats and see if they back up what everyone thinks.

  • 2004 – Kasey Kahne’s rookie season.  Kasey showed lots of promise finishing 12th in points with 14 top tens and 13 top fives.  At that point people thought that he could become a yearly contender for the championship. 
  • 2005 – Kasey got his first win, but had a bad season finishing 23rd in points and only collecting 8 top tens. 
  • 2006 – His best in NASCAR finishing 8th in the standings and a career high 6 wins.
  • 2007 & 2008 – Not very good for Kasey, finishing 18th and 14th in points with a combined 2 wins and 22 top tens.  Bad.
  • 2009 – A bit of a bounce-back season making the chase and finishing 10th in points with 2 wins and 14 top ten finishes.
  • 2010 – This season has been brutal.  Kasey is 26th in points and only has 2 top ten finishes.

This is Kasey Kahne’s 7th season in NASCAR, and let’s face it, he’s not a legitimate contender for the title, and probably won’t be in his career.  He’s one of the above average drivers on the circuit that will win 1 or 2 races a season and make the chase once every three years.  In 2004 & 2005 Kasey had potential, and people thought he was realizing that potential in the 2006 season, but it appears that will be the one really good season he’ll have in his career.

Because people think Kasey can still win a lot of races and contend for the championship he is the most disappointing driver in NASCAR.  He always has high hopes, but can never meet them.  People need to wake up and lower their expectations of Kasey Kahne.  He’s not that good.  Unfortunately expectations won’t be lowered when he moves to Hendrick Motorsports.

Can Hendrick Motorsports Make Him Better?
The short answer is no.  Hendrick Motorsports doesn’t do well making drivers better.  Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson started their career with Rick, and were awesome from the beginning and still are.  Mark Martin is a good fit for team Hendrick because he knows how to win, and has won in the past.  Kasey Kahne isn’t Mark Martin and won’t do any better with Hendrick than he’s done in past seasons. 

Jimmie and Jeff sure haven’t made Dale Earnhardt Jr. better, and they won’t make Kasey better.  They’re too busy trying to win championships to “impart knowledge” on others.  Maybe that’s a knock on those guys, but it seems to be true.  You’d think being on a team with two 4-time champions that you’d learn something, but it appears that doesn’t happen for Hendrick Motorsports.

I haven’t read how many years Kasey signed for, but I’m guessing 3 or 4.  No matter how many years the deal is for, look for Kasey to be out of the 4th Hendrick seat when the contract is up.  He may make the chase once while with the team, but the pressure will get to him, and he’ll probably finish 15th – 20th in points most years.

What do you think?  Is Kasey the most disappointing driver?  Will he do well with Hendrick Motorsports, or stay the course and always be the guy who underperforms?

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One Response to “Did Rick Hendrick Sign NASCAR’s Most Disappointing Driver?”

  1. Jason said

    Kasey Kahne isn’t that good. Don’t know if his middle name starts with a “K” too, but it might (K?K). Kasey is sponsored by Bud? Will they go with him to Hendrick? If so, that may be why they signed him. Why not sign a young pup like Joe Gibbs Racing did Joey Logano?

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