The past few seasons in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for Kasey Kahne, since he moved to Hendrick Motorsports in 2013, have not been the best. Kahne is considered the “underperforming” driver of the organization.
Towards the end of the 2016 season, things began to look up for Kahne. He believes that the performance at the end brought high optimism going into the 2017 season. “I think it is more optimism and just feeling good about where we went last year.”
“we know where we made those gains as a company and as a team because we made them in both areas and we will just get better from there.”
With those gains, the team for Kahne feels “good about it and is excited to get the season started.” However, Kahne feels that optimism comes from the way the season ended with Jimmie Johnson winning the championship and Chase Elliott winning the Rookie of the Year as well as the gains the team made in the last 12 races of 2016. “We know where we made those gains as a company and as a team because we made them in both areas and we will just get better from there.”
When it comes to the offseason, many believe that drivers go off and leave the team with the work, but that is not the case when it comes to the No. 5 team. “Since Monday after Homestead I have been with Keith (Rodden, crew chief), I’ve been with our engineers and all of us as a team, from the pit crew side to the road guys, the guys building the cars, we have been a team and we have been working to progress in those same areas that we made the gains in. We have had a couple of months to do that, so I feel like that is a lot of hard work,” said Kahne. “Everybody is working hard, but for us we are going in the right direction and it is going to show this year and I’m looking forward to that.”
For Kahne, winning is the goal, but running consistently in the top-10 gives them “fair share of shots to win, whether it’s a stage or the final stage; I’m looking forward to that.” Kahne is looking forward to having faster cars and being a better driver behind the wheel.