It’s easy to feel good for Kasey Kahne, who finally shed more than two years’ worth of frustration Sunday.
But Kahne’s win in the Brickyard 400, his first victory since 2014, might be the last happy memory he has with Hendrick Motorsports. Even amid the celebration at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, team owner Rick Hendrick refused to commit to Kahne’s status in the No. 5 Chevrolet beyond this season.
“Our plans are not set for the 5 car,” Hendrick told Motorsport.com’s Lee Spencer. “There’s nothing concrete or done, and that hasn’t changed.
“We’ll see how things shake out, you know, the rest of the year. There’s a lot of things involved, sponsors and a lot of things we look at. We’re going to try hard. But there’s not decisions made at this time.”
Kahne’s contract runs through the end of 2018, but there has been widespread speculation that HMS could seek to exit the deal early. A Kevin-Harvick-for-Kahne swap is a favorite of SiriusXM NASCAR Radio callers, though that’s mostly wishful thinking by Harvick fans hoping to get their guy back in a Chevy. Matt Kenseth has also been tied to HMS, thanks to lobbying by Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
If Kahne is on the outs, it’s a huge fall from grace for a driver who was once compared to a young Jeff Gordon. At the very least, he’s now assured a spot in the NASCAR playoffs, and given the unpredictable nature of the 10-race tournament, there’s the tiniest of chances that Kahne’s final run at HMS is a championship-worthy one.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images
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