Kasey Kahne’s struggles continue; wrecks late at Pocono (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Kasey Kahne fans were optimistic that he’d start turning around his season in Sunday’s Pocono Raceway, where he won at last August and has two overall wins and seven top 10s there.

For a while there, Kahne was looking good until Lap 143 of the 160-lap Pocono 400.

Kahne lost control of his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and slammed into the Turn 1 wall, collecting Roush Fenway Racing teammates Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle in the process.

Kahne ultimately wound up with a 42nd-place finish, while Edwards was one spot ahead in 41st.

Kahne apparently lost the brakes in his car after the first impact as he continued on down the track for maybe an additional 500-plus feet before hitting the wall again.

That brought out the caution flag and Kahne’s car had to be towed off the track.

After the race, Kahne declined to be interviewed, telling TNT that he wasn’t feeling well.

Edwards, meanwhile, called Kahne’s hit one of the hardest sideswipes into a wall he’s ever seen.

“I’m not sure what happened,” Edwards told TNT. “It was getting pretty crazy out there. It looked like he came off Turn (1) and somehow Kasey hit the wall there, but it wasn’t like he just ran into the wall, there was a bunch of oil on the track.

“I couldn’t miss him, I hit him in the left rear, I’m glad he got out of the car okay because he really smacked the wall hard.”

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

F1 2017 driver review: Esteban Ocon

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Esteban Ocon

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 31
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P5 (Spain, Mexico)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 87
Championship Position: 8th

A shining star in Mercedes’ junior programme, Esteban Ocon vaulted fellow youngster Pascal Wehrlein in the pecking order to secure a seat at Force India for 2017 – and boy, did he live up to the hype.

Ocon arrived at Force India with half a season of racing under his belt after his outings with Manor late in 2016, but wasted little time in settling in, scoring points on debut in Australia after winning a thrilling three-way fight with Nico Hulkenberg and Fernando Alonso.

The Frenchman spent much of the year close to teammate Sergio Perez – even if things did get a little too close in Canada, Baku and, finally, Spa, prompting the team to introduce team orders – and impressed the entire paddock with his displays.

While no podium was forthcoming, Ocon was often leading the midfield fight, enjoying three straight finishes ahead of Perez from Japan to Mexico. Given how well Perez is rated on-track in the paddock, to have convincingly beaten him in such fashion did a lot for Ocon’s reputation.

The term ‘Oconsistency’ also came into F1’s dictionary as he set a new record for consecutive finishes from his first race, with his retirement in Brazil ending the streak at 27 grands prix. It was also his first retirement in a single-seater race since the 2014 Macau Grand Prix.

The highlight moment arguably came at Monza, though, when Ocon stuck his Force India third on the grid through torrential rain in qualifying. While he would drop to P6 at the checkered flag, the display nevertheless cemented his place as one of F1’s rising stars.

Mercedes rates Ocon very highly, and with Valtteri Bottas’ future beyond 2018 already being questioned by the paddock, a good season could see the youngster move on up to the top table of F1 for 2019. His progression in the next 12 months will be fascinating to keep track of.

Season High: Lining up P3 on the grid at Monza after a rainy qualifying.

Season Low: Clashing with Perez in Baku, costing Force India a possible podium.