Originally written on Race Review Online  |  Last updated 10/1/14

CONCORD, NC - OCTOBER 15: Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Budweiser Dodge, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 15, 2009 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
It’s been a very frustrating start of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season for Kasey Kahne. After rebounding and finishing fourth in the final 2012 standings, everyone thought Kahne could be a dark horse to win the Cup championship this season. Kahne qualified well at Daytona for the qualifying session and raced well in his duel to start sixth in the Daytona 500. Unfortunately, while running inside the top 10, Kahne was spun out exiting the tri-oval by Kyle Busch and caught up in a wreck just 31 Laps into the race. He would have to settle for a 34th-place finish. When the series headed to Phoenix International Raceway this past weekend we thought he’d be a factor. He won the fall race around the 1-mile oval back in 2011 and usually performs very well there. Kahne started up front in earning the outside front row position and looked very racy for the first part of the race. Again, bad luck struck as he found himself in the middle of the pack after a pit-stop and could never rebound. The race Sunday was all about clean air and pit strategy. Guys in the middle of the pack developed handling issues and chased their cars all day. Kahne fell into that category and finished a disappointing 19th. Now, Kahne is sitting 31st in the standings entering the third race off the year in Las Vegas and many are counting him out already as a title contender. As stats show and as I pointed it out last week, no driver has ever won the Cup title under the Chase format adopted in 2004 with zero top 10 finishes to start off the season. If anyone is going to be the first to do it I’d put my money on Kahne. Last year, Kahne sat 31st in the Sprint Cup standings after six races. He failed to score a single top 10 in those six events and finished 29th and 34th respectively at Daytona and Phoenix. Race seven at Texas is where he turned his season around as he went on a terror with eight straight top 10 finishes including the Coca-Cola 600 win at Charlotte. He wound up making the Chase and was a factor all the way until PIR in November when his deficit behind Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski was too much. Nevertheless, after that horrid start last year he still made the Chase and was a threat to win the title. Don’t count him out just yet as he has 24 more races to make the 12-driver Chase field. The post NASCAR: Don’t count out Kasey Kahne for Sprint Cup title just yet appeared first on Race Review Online.

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