So far, the wait was hardly worth it.
Kahne opened the season with a month of wrecks, mistakes and disappointing results for Hendrick Motorsports, culminating in a collision with Regan Smith that ruined last week at Bristol. He’s 32nd in the Sprint Cup Series points standings, and his car is down to 34th in owner points, theoretically putting Kahne in position to lose a guaranteed spot in the field if he has another wreck or awful performance today at Auto Club Speedway.
It’s a tense situation to navigate so early in the NASCAR season, but the former boy wonder still radiated quiet confidence while working with his team at his hauler in Fontana.
“I would be (down) if my cars were slow, but everything has been so good,” Kahne said. “My team is so good. There’s really no reason to be down, other than we’re not in the position we want to be in.”
Even though Kahne has had more knee surgeries (three) than Sprint Cup victories (one) since September 2009, he’s determined to get his season back on track in Fontana, where he qualified fifth Friday on the track where he won in 2006.
“Some of it may be bad luck, and then some of it may be me making mistakes,” Kahne said of his woes. “As far as the racing stuff, from the cars to the pit stops to the team and the engines, the car is awesome.”