Coming off the first off weekend of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team needs to look at Saturday night's race at Richmond International Raceway as a fresh start to the season. The first eight races of the season did not yield the results that Kahne and a Hendrick team are accustomed to.
Currently Kahne is sitting 23rd in the driver points and only has two top 10 finishes. Those were a pair of eighth place finishes at Las Vegas and Bristol. He has also only led 41 laps so far this season.
The good news is that with the new Chase qualifying format all Kahne needs to do is win a race. He is a 16-time winner in the Cup Series and with 18 races left until the Chase cut off he has plenty of time to get that victory. Currently he is also 37 points from being eligible to make the Chase based on points. That cut off sits with Kyle Larson right now, who is 14th in points.
Kahne's Hendrick Motorsports teammates have provided much better results than Kahne has so far. Dale Earnhardt Jr won the Daytona 500 and has four other top five finishes so far. Jeff Gordon currently leads the points and has six top 10's. Jimmie Johnson has struggled some by his standards but still has three top fives.
It seems like only a matter of time before Gordon and Johnson join Earnhardt Jr as winners this season and lock up a Chase berth but Kahne has not been as close. It is time for the 34-year-old from Enumclaw, Washington to step up his game along with crew chief Kenny Francis.
Kasey Kahne's contract with Hendrck Motorsports runs through the 2015 season. He has won four times with the team since moving over to them to start the 2012 season. But with Chase Elliott excelling in the Nationwide Series and the unknown of when Jeff Gordon will retire Kahne could become the odd man out at Hendrick and if he fails to win a race and make the Chase this season that could be all the team needs to make room for Elliott by moving Kahne out.
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