Hello again, and welcome to Day 23 of the 35-day rendezvous around the teams guaranteed a spot in the first five races of 2009.
Today we make another stop at the newly re-named Richard Petty Motorsports to look at heart-throb Kasey Kahne.
Talk about pressure on this kid. He not only took over a car driven by past-champion Bill Elliot, but now Kahne also carries the Budweiser sponsorship.
Kahne appeared to be on his way to greatness after a tremendous junior season, winning six races in 2006. However, recently he has struggled the past two seasons, winning just two races.
So would Kahne be better off at another team? Probably, but I don’t see him leaving Dodge anytime soon.
Here is a look at today’s feature:
Today’s Spotlight: No. 9
Driver: Kasey Kahne
Driver 2008 Stats: Kahne brought home more than $7.2 million in 2008. He finished 14th in driver standings, with two wins, four top-fives and 14 top-10 finishes. Kahne averaged a 16th place finish last year—matching his career best.
News: Little has happened with the team since its merger with Petty Enterprises to form the new Richard Petty Motorsports. The merger, however has yet to have a major impact on Kahne.
With the merge, Robby Loomis will serve as executive director for the new team, which could help the entire team in a big way.
New comer Reed Sorenson joins the team, and should serve as a decent teammate for Kahne and Elliot Sadler. Part-time teammate A.J. Allmendinger will also benefit.
My Prediction for 2009: Kahne could possibly return to his winning ways in 2009 and pick up a couple of wins, and a spot in the Chase.
Kahne fell short of a spot in the Chase after a late-season slide. This season, if he can finish on a more consistent basis, he will not only be a contender for the Chase, but could be for the championship as well. In the end, I see him finishing between eighth and 12th.
Do I sense a Dodge making the Chase, only to finish last again?… Could be.
Will this team remain in top-35: Of course they will.
Up Tomorrow: No. 8 Aric Almirola
This story also appears on my blog: Sports 101
Reminder: Only 15 days until the Budweiser Shootout!