In 2010, he had already signed a four year contract to drive for Rick Hendrick starting in 2012. It was clear that Mr. Hendrick saw a star in the then 30 year old. Since joining Hendrick Motorsports last season, Kasey Kahne already has two wins, including the Coke 600, four poles and a fourth place appearance in the Chase. Sitting second in points as the series heads to Richmond; Kahne might just be Hendrick’s next big thing.
Kahne acquired himself a full time Cup ride in 2004 with Evernham Motorsports at the ripe young age of 24. Ten seasons, five teams and now 15 wins later, he is one of the favorites for the Sprint Cup Series Championship this season. Second in points behind teammate and 5-time Champion Jimmie Johnson, Kahne already has a win at Bristol this season on his record.
This season, along with his win at Bristol, Kahne has two second place finishes including the one this past weekend at Kansas Speedway. His average finish in 2013 is just outside the top 10 due to a 36th place finish in the Daytona 500. With five top-10 finishes, Kahne does not look like he will be slowing down any time soon.
In an interview he did back in 2010 about his eventual move to Hendrick Motorsports, Kahne was very optimistic.
"I have a comfort level with Mr. Hendrick, my future teammates and the culture of the organization," Kahne said. "For me, it's the right fit on every level, and I think it gives me a great chance to win races and compete for championships.”
Kahne seems to fit in really well with his teammates even if they have their differences on the track. He and Jeff Gordon share a side of the race shop back at Hendrick Motorsports headquarters and you often see Kahne and one of the other drivers talking on pit road before qualifying or the race. Hendrick Motorsports is such a strong organization with drivers and teams capable of winning multiple races in a season which puts Kahne on the right path to becoming the next Sprint Cup Series Champion.
Jimmie Johnson may have dominated at the half mile track and Danica Patrick may have had the most impressive run in her short Sprint Cup Series career but the most memorable moment from yesterday's STP Gas Booster 500 at Martinsville Speedway was a ball of flames.
Kurt Busch started 19th and patiently drove his No. 78 Furniture Row/Serta Chevrolet SS to the front of the field. By Lap 195, he had entered the top-10. Lap 270 saw Busch headed to pit road with a flat left-front tire after a tangle with Joey Logano which put him 2 laps down. By Lap 292, he had gained one lap back and was on the verge of getting the "Lucky Dog" position when a nudge from David Gilliland sent Busch spinning on the track.
Little did Busch know, his struggles were just beginning. Lap 351 saw Busch heading to the garage with a fuel pump issue. Shortly thereafter, he returned to the track and all seemed to be working properly. Busch was running 38th and more than 20 laps down with 14 laps to go when his Furniture Row Chevy suddenly shot up into the outside wall and burst into flames.
Coming into turn 1, his car lost its brakes and instead of careening into the corner and taking out his fellow competitors, Busch instead turned the wheel to the right and slid up into the wall. Flames bellowed out from under the hood of his car as it came to its final resting place at the top of the track.
"Something happened with the brakes," Busch said during his post-race interview. "The pedal felt spongy going into three and four and I gave it a courtesy pump and it came to. I go down the front straightaway and gave it another courtesy pup and it went straight to the floor. Something failed with it and I just turned it to the right and fenced it instead of running head on into the fence."
Busch quickly climbed out from the cockpit of the car but not before hitting his in-car extinguisher on the dash. Despite the wreck, the eldest Busch brother was optimistic and positive saying that although it's been a tough year so far, he isn't giving up just yet.
Want to watch his crash? Click here.