— Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne) September 13, 2017
Fire up the speculation machine, fill it with fuel and let it run at full speed because silly season is rolling and it’s rolling fast. Kasey Kahne just inserted himself fully into silly season speculation with one tweet. He didn’t need to make a comment, no other driver made a comment about Smithfield Foods staying in NASCAR. Then at 11:21 PM on a casual Tuesday night Kasey Kahne comes sliding into the silly season like Denzel crash landing that flight upside down.
Hendrick Motorsports announced last month that Kahne would not return to the #5 in 2018. HMS would pay him through 2018 regardless if he drove for another team or sat out the season. Kahne is looking for a job, there’s a seat open at Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018. A major sponsor just announced they would be moving to SHR next year. There’s a lot of puzzle pieces laying around on this table, maybe we put them all together.
Kasey Kahne loves Smithfield bacon, and honestly who wouldn’t? It’s good bacon, folks. To tweet out your undying love for it and include your kid is a very suburban housewife on Facebook move. It’s not a NASCAR silly season move when an unemployed driver tweets at a major sponsor who is seemingly driverless.
Kahne Over Almirola
Smithfield moved from Richard Petty Motorsports due to a lack of performance while investing over $100M in the last 5 seasons. Everyone has assumed that in that move Aric Almirola would also be moving with the brand. What if he isn’t though? RPM certainly didn’t have the best equipment but it could also be a lack of performance on Almirola’s part too. When Darrell Wallace Jr. got in that car he ran as good as and better than Almirola. Not to disparage Almirola but when a guy who has never driven a cup car can attain the same results as you that doesn’t bode well for you.
Kasey Kahne has a race win in 2017. Albeit a win in one of the craziest races in recent memory at Indianapolis, a win is a win. Kahne consistently out runs Almirola and would continue to do so at SHR in 2018. If Smithfield is truly moving to SHR to see their car run up front on a weekly basis their best choice at the moment is to put Kahne in the car or hop on the #14 or #41 in 2018.
Since 2012 Aric Almirola has recorded 27 Top 10’s, 9 Top 5’s and 1 win with Richard Petty Motorsports. In that same time, Kahne has recorded 71 Top 10’s, 35 Top 5’s and 6 wins. Hendrick equipment is exponentially better than RPM’s but the fact remains Kahne can win anywhere. He won with Red Bull Racing, he won with RPM in 2009, he can win with bad teams. Almirola has one win and that was a rain shortened Daytona summer race.
Kahne has to be in the mix at SHR or this looks like a really desperate move on his part. If Stewart-Haas signs Kahne they’ll continue their trend of signing guys outcasted by their previous teams. A weird move but it has seemingly paid off for them.
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