Kahne Motivated By Early Success
RICHMOND, Va. – Call it motivation from within. And Rick Hendrick likely wouldn’t have it any other way.
Jimmie Johnson’s road to a sixth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship well might converge with those of one or more Hendrick Motorsports teammates.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., in fifth place, headed the standings earlier this year.
Now the pressure comes from Kasey Kahne, who ended the 2012 season with a flourish and has yet to lift his foot from the accelerator of the No. 5 Chevrolet.
Kahne’s third top-two finish of the season last Sunday at Kansas Speedway boosted the Washington native to the No. 2 spot in rankings entering Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Int’l Raceway. Kahne trails Johnson by 37 points.
A year ago – his first with the Hendrick organization – Kahne had just begun his climb from the purgatory of four finishes of 29th or worse in the season’s opening six races. A fifth-place finish at Richmond was part of a 10-race run of top 10s that included a Coca-Cola 600 victory in Charlotte.
Kahne made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and finished fourth in points. His current second place matches a career best, and he’s never been this high in the points this late in the season.