I’ll admit, when Kasey Kahne took over Bill Elliott’s #9 car back in 2004, I was a big fan.
I started watching NASCAR in 2001, and immediately became a huge fan of Elliott’s. Looking back, I don’t remember why; I just know that I was. When he left his #9 car after the 2003 season, I decided to give the unheard-of Kahne a chance, and he didn’t disappoint.
I was a religious fan of Kahne’s for quite awhile. That is, until this year, when it appeared that his attitude began getting the best of him.
I’ve met Kasey in person, and I will say this about him: He is a great guy. I’ve met him three times, and he’s always treated me and the rest of his fans with the utmost respect.
But my problem with Kasey is this: Nothing is ever his fault, and he is never in the wrong. I first took serious notice of this at the Pocono race back in June, when Kahne pinned the blame for his horrific last-lap crash on teammate A.J. Allmendinger.
For those of you who don’t remember what happened, Kahne tried to pass Allmendinger on the inside going down the Long Pond straight. A.J. blocked, and Kahne took his car all the way to the bottom of the track. He proceeded to stick all four of his wheels into the wet grass, and spun out in front of the entire field.
Afterwards, he claimed that he didn’t usually talk to Allmendinger, and probably wouldn’t after that crash, either.
But while Kahne has shown signs of immaturity in the past(anybody remember the David Stremme incidents?), to date, the biggest example of that came this past weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Kahne was running off the lead lap in the late-20s when he simply lost control of his car off Turn 4 in the middle of the race, and took out Sam Hornish Jr. in his wake. Kahne claims his brakes failed on him, which may very well be true.
But what else is true is the fact that Kahne quit on his team. After getting out of his car, an angry Kahne claims he got sick, and didn’t feel like getting back in the car. The next day, however, he did feel like running a 5K race.
Here’s the deal, plain and simple. Kasey Kahne is being paid millions of dollars to do something that 99.9% of Americans only wish they could do just once; that is, drive a car around a track at a very high rate of speed.
In other words, Kasey Kahne is very blessed to be able to do what he does. I don’t give a rat’s tail if the car didn’t have a steering wheel. For the 99.9% of us that will never get to drive a race car, Kahne should have climbed back in.
But no. Like Kyle Busch at Texas in 2007, and like Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Pocono in 2004, Kahne didn’t feel like driving the car anymore. He felt that the car was inferior to his abilities, and so, like a crybaby, he didn’t get back in.
As a fan, it is insulting to watch a driver as highly respected as Kasey Kahne act the way he does. When something doesn’t go his way, he pins the blame on somebody else. When things really don’t go his way, he quits on everybody. Himself, his team, and his fans.
We all know Kahne isn’t a perfect driver. He makes mistakes, just like everybody else. It’s what makes him human.
But knowing that, Kahne should not act like he thinks he’s a perfect driver. And to see him appear as if he thinks he’s superior to everybody else is troubling. I know he can be a bigger man than that.
In the meantime, Kasey Kahne is rapidly turning into a crybaby. And he needs to stop.