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Sunday, October 17, 2010

After Charlotte incident, Kahne and RPM might as well split right now

It's no surprise that things are a bit rough between Richard Petty Motorsports and Kasey Kahne right now.

He's not running well, his cars fail on him regularly, and he already has his mind on next year at Red Bull as a warmup to his move to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.
But things hit a new low at Charlotte, when after his brakes failed he decided not to get back in the car and complete the race.

In reports that came out Sunday, Kahne admitted to having a meltdown on the radio, and to being upset with the quality of the cars given to him.

"I lost it. 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," he said. "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 said in the reports that he threw up once Saturday night and didn't want to get back in a car that didn't meet his standards. Kahne said it was the third time this season his brakes had failed, and the second time in three races.

This is a pretty bold move, to blatantly admit you don't want to drive for your current team because you think their equipment sucks. I can't really fault his logic in a way. What's the worst they could do to him: Fire him?

J.J. Yeley completed the race in Kahne's car, and then on Sunday morning Kahne ran a 5k event for his charity in downtown Charlotte. Most sick people i know wouldn't run a 5k.

If there's one thing I know about racecar drivers, it's that they love to race, and they want to finish a race no matter what it takes. Dale Earnhardt Sr. once got out of the ambulance after a wreck, jumped back in his car and finished a race.

Kasey Kahne is a great racecar driver, and no doubt he feels the same way about finishing ... he just doesnt' want to do it with his current team.
There's still a handful of races left in the year, and Kahne will (probably) be in all of them physically, but not mentally.

After Saturday night, there will be some very tense atmosphere in that garage, as they wait for him to exit. I'm guessing there won't be a going away party for Kahne, since he's already mentally checked out. Based on earlier incidents with his fellow drivers at RPM (notably his spat with A.J. Allmendinger), I don't think he ever really fit there in the first place.

In a way I don't blame him, as he's headed for much greener pastures (though it's no guarantee; see Dale Jr.) and the current equipment isn't exactly top-notch. But since he's made it clear how unhappy he is with his team, there's a good argument to be made that he shouldn't even finish the year in the #9 car.

I know he'd be happy with that, and the team could probably do without his attitude toward them. It's possible contacts will stop that from happening, but it's probably the best option at this point.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would be a perfect chance for Jack Rousch to pull a Rick Hendrick and get with RPM and put Trevor Baynes in the 9 car for a couple of races before the end of the season. What Kasey did to RPM early in the season by signing with Rick and then he expects RPM to give him the best equipment because he's Kasey Kahne, No, RPM had a driver they had to concentrate on resigning and they wanted to show AJ they were committed to him, not only this year, but in the long terms too. Kasey, go play with your HMS fans and hopefully, you'll enjoy the same success as your 88 teammate who sold his sole for the money and fame of being one of Rick Hendrick whipping boys.

October 19, 2010 at 4:55 AM 

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