Three weeks ago, Kasey Kahne was given the best engine Dodge has.
He has since been to a pair of his favorite tracks, Pocono and Michigan. Both times, he finished outside the top 10.
It hasn’t been due to lack of performance. Kahne was running 2nd at Pocono and 8th at Michigan before fuel strategy came into play.
Unfortunately, under a newly passed NASCAR rule, it is required that every Dodge in the field folds at the mere mention of a fuel mileage race.
Okay, not really. But if you look at the last few weeks, you would certainly think that was the case.
Two weeks ago at Pocono, the leaders pitted with 42 laps remaining. Kahne was forced to bring his Dodge down pit road with 12 laps remaining. Meanwhile, Tony Stewart in a Chevy, Carl Edwards in a Ford, and David Reutimann in a Toyota all made it to the end on fuel.
Oh, and AJ Allmendinger, who pitted his Dodge inside 40 laps to go, ran dry on the final lap.
Last week at Michigan, Kahne once again pitted when everyone else did. He even conserved more fuel than everyone else by coasting on the apron in the corners, which cost him 8 positions.
While guys like Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon in their Chevys and Edwards in a Ford made it to the end on fuel, Kahne ran dry on the final lap.
So twice in two weeks, fuel mileage has killed Kahne’s hopes of a top 10 finish. But that shouldn’t mean changing manufacturers, should it?
No, the fact that Dodge has always been a step behind the competition should.
Even in a year where Kurt Busch has returned to championship form and Kahne has been running consistently(sometimes), Dodge is still behind. Busch has been non-existent at times, and Kahne has had his share of disasters. And don’t get me started on guys like Elliott Sadler.
Dodge has not been an embarrassment this year. But they still aren’t at the same level as everyone else. You can see that just by looking at the points standings, where only a single Dodge sits in a Chase spot.
And with Kahne’s car owner, Richard Petty stating that Dodge has pulled support from their team, it should only be a matter of time before Richard Petty Motorsports make the inevitable switch to Toyota, or maybe Honda or Nissan.
Hmm, Kahne driving a Budweiser Nissan Z sounds kinda cool.
Whatever happens, Kasey Kahne, and everybody at RPM, needs a manufacturer switch.