Chase Capsules: Kasey Kahne


5 – Kasey Kahne
Team: Hendrick Motorsports
Crew Chief: Kenny Francis
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Best Finish: 4th (2012)
Chase History: 5th Chase Appearance, Best finish of 4th in 2012

Regular Season Recap: Kasey Kahne has had one of his worst seasons to date, but with his win at Atlanta, he made the Chase, thus assuring that all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers will be in the playoffs. Prior to his win at Atlanta, Kahne struggled unmercifully, with just two top-five finishes before he finally took a checkered flag in 2014. But he’s become the poster boy for NASCAR’s catchy new Chase slogan: Win and you’re in. Will the momentum Kahne got from Atlanta carry over to the Chase? Time will tell. But up to now, he’s only had one decent finish in the Chase in his career.

Jerry’s Take: Kahne is another one of those drivers for whom greatness has long been predicted, but unfortunately his results haven’t quite matched that optimism. There’s no question that he needs to greatly improve his performance because he knows all too well that 18-year-old Nationwide Series phenom Chase Elliott is waiting in the wings.

Can Kahne be a potential Cinderella in the upcoming Chase? Sure, there’s a possibility, but he’ll need to drive like he’s never driven before. He’ll also need to be more aggressive to win because if he doesn’t, he has so much more to lose.

Essentially, Kahne needs to reinvent himself for the Chase, which is not an easy task, let alone to actually pull it off successfully. If he can get past the first round of eliminations, that would be a start.

Chris’s Take: As I wrote earlier this week, Kahne is a relevant driver once again after winning at Atlanta to make the post-season. But this is the time where he needs to make a true impact and, at the least, prove that he can stack up against his superstar teammates at Hendrick Motorsports. Getting through the Challenger Round will be critical, but if he can do that, Kahne has an genuine opportunity to advance from the Contender Round with a fifth victory at Charlotte.

Tony’s Take: Kahne avoided the ignominy of missing the Chase considering his teammates all locked themselves in a while back. Sad to say but I think the Atlanta win is as good as it’s going to get for the driver of the No. 5 car.

There’s been little to nothing, consistency or big results-wise, that has shown Kahne as a title contender. He may make it out of the Challenger round, but he is highly likely to be the first of the Hendrick drivers eliminated from this year’s Chase.

Kasey Kahne’s Career Statistics at Chase Tracks
Chicagoland (1.5 mile) – Zero wins, 2 Top-5s, 3 Top-10s in 10 starts
New Hampshire (1 mile) – One win, 3 Top-5s, 8 Top-10s in 21 starts
Dover (1 mile) – Zero wins, 1 Top-5s, 5 Top-10s in 21 starts
Kansas (1.5 mile) – Zero wins, 4 Top-5s, 7 Top-10s in 14 starts
Charlotte (1.5 mile) – Four wins, 9 Top-5s, 12 Top-10s in 21 starts
Talladega (2.66 mile) – Zero wins, 3 Top-5s, 5 Top-10s in 21 starts
Martinsville (half-mile) – Zero wins, 3 Top-5s, 4 Top-10s in 21 starts
Texas (1.5-mile) – One win, 4 Top-5s, 10 Top-10s in 18 starts
Phoenix (1 mile) – One win, 4 Top-5s, 7 Top-10s in 20 starts
Homestead-Miami (1.5 mile) – Zero wins, 1 Top-5s, 4 Top-10s in 10 starts

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.