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NASCAR Lame Duck Driver Scenario: Kasey Kahne Prepared to Move on to 2011

Ashley McCubbinAnalyst IOctober 18, 2010

CONCORD, NC - OCTOBER 14:  Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Budweiser Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 14, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

Following an incident at Charlotte Motor Speedway this past weekend, more was exposed to the Kasey Kahne story with how things are going at Richard Petty Motorsports.

During the "5K" run today that Kahne hosted to benefit charity, Kahne revealed that the bottom of the pot is falling out at RPM.

"I was told that I needed to start doing my part, [that] is what one guy told me last night after the race," Kahne said, according to NASCAR.com. "I'm not going to say names, but I was told that I need to start doing my part. I can't control the issues I've had this year. I don't know how many parts I've broke. If I really thought about it, I could come up with all kinds of stuff.

"You can't control that as a driver. I'm doing my part. I just need the car. I work as hard as anybody out there."

Kahne has been in contention to win races this year, though mechanical issues and misfortune has plagued the team; in the past three races alone, Kahne has had brake issues.

Crew chief Kenny Francis wanted to change the fluid; however, he was overruled by the team as the other seven teams associated (Roush-Fenway plus RPM) have not had any issues.

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"Basically we run stuff that's not very good compared to some of the other teams," Kahne said. "So once you lose your brakes, you can't get them back. With that fluid, you can't get them back. There are other fluids that you can, but with ours you can't. Their point is that we have eight teams and I'm the only one that's had this issue, and that's a good point.

"But I've never had any issues in my past six years. If you look at brakes after a race, my brake pads are better than any one of the other seven or the same as the best ones that don't use much brake. So it's just a mess, really."

Kahne throwing in the blanket and not getting back in the car, letting his sickness equal his reason to not get back in the car, showed Kahne was at the end of his rope.

"I lost it," he said. "I was just mad. I came into the race thinking we had a shot to win, thinking we had a good car in practice, we had a good shot. It went green. We were a little bit tight, but still actually passed cars and really felt good and then boom, my brakes are gone.

"It's not like you have half-brakes, like you can pump them. Your foot goes to the floor. It bottoms out. It's a joke."

Kahne has already confirmed that Kenny Francis will be coming to Red Bull Racing with him in 2011, as he stated that he likes working with Francis and they have a good relationship.

Scenarios like the one that Kahne is facing are scenarios that are seem to be brought up every year when you have a driver leaving a team.

In 2007, Dale Earnhardt Jr. faced the same scenario, as he had seven engine failures and other mechanical issues through his final year at Dale Earnhardt Inc.

There has also been scenarios seen where drivers and crew chiefs that are leaving are not allowed to attend meetings, as the team is afraid their secrets for the season ahead will get out.

In the case where Red Bull Racing (RBR) is searching for somebody to close out the season with the No. 83 car running in good condition, it'd be a good opportunity for everybody to start working together. 

By Kahne running the car for the final five races, it would allow him to get to know the team; it would also allow Francis to get to know everybody, along with how the RBR shop works.

Also, no plans have been announced as to whether Scott Speed will be driving the No. 82 car next year.

If the plans are set to not have him included with Kahne in that car, that change could also be made before the season runs out. 

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