Early Sunday morning, team owner Rick Hendrick was in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Media Center discussing the future of the 88 car that will be taken over by Alex Bowman in 2018. Bowman will be replacing the retiring Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the conclusion of the current season.
With one situation finding clarity another was made murkier with Sunday morning’s announcement. Kasey Kahne had been in a 3 year winless drought and was in danger of missing Nascar’s playoffs for the third straight year. With the news of Matt Kenseth’s free agency going into 2018, the future of Kahne in the 5 car had come into question in the past month.
When asked on the status on Kahne in the 5 car in 2018 Hendrick declined to comment on any future plans. This reaction made it seem that Kahne could possibly be on the way out next season and replaced with Kenseth or someone else.
After a 6 hour race with over 2 hours of delays Kasey Kahne may have extended his stay at Hendrick Motorsports. At least Kahne feels better about his status for the 2018 season.
“I have a deal through 2018 with Hendrick Motorsports. I hear a lot of things. It’s tough to say exactly what is going to happen because I don’t know at this point in time. I know me and Mr. H will figure it out.”
While being excited from the unexpected win, Hendrick was still reluctant to make any statements on the future of Kahne in the 5 car. “It puts him in the playoffs,” Hendrick said. “We’re excited about that. I hope this turns the corner.”
Kahne was a fortunate recipient of some good luck for the first time in a long time with a late caution falling his way. Kahne was put in position to battle with Brad Keselowski for the win. The final restart Kahne took the lead as a wreck ensued and the race was ended in the Indianapolis twilight.
With a breath of new life, it will be interesting to see what Kahne will be capable of doing in the playoffs. Maybe this win will catapult him into momentum that he’s been longing for, maybe this win may have just saved his job.