CONCORD, N.C. – As he prepares to give the No. 5 Chevrolet “one last ride” in his final race as a Hendrick Motorsports driver, Kasey Kahne is entering Homestead-Miami Speedway week with a steady mindset.
"Mindset is really just kind of enjoy the weekend with the guys, the group of guys that has worked really hard for me, and get the best result we possibly can,” he said.
With change on the horizon, he’ll look to treat this weekend just like any other.
Still, it has given cause to reflect on his time with the organization.
"I think it's special to be part of Hendrick Motorsports,” he said. “A lot of the things that I have learned and been part of over the last six years have been really fun and cool to be a part of.”
The driver shared that a big reason why it’s special to race for the organization is owner Rick Hendrick, and Hendrick was complimentary of what Kahne has meant to the team.
“Kasey’s a true racer, and I haven’t seen many drivers with his level of pure talent,” the owner said. “I’m looking forward to continuing our friendship for a long time. He’s a great dad. He’s someone who does so much good through his charitable work and has such a passion for racing. I admire his character and truly appreciate everything he’s done for us.”
Kahne’s goal on Sunday, as always, will be to reach Victory Lane – a feat he has accomplished six times since joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.
His first Hendrick Motorsports win came in the 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May 2012, in the midst of a season that saw him win twice, tie a career high in top-10 finishes and come one top-five finish short of tying his career high. That year, he finished a career-high fourth in the championship standings.
“I think the first year I came in and we were easily as good as anybody here and just about as good as anyone on the track on any given weekend,” Kahne said.
In total, Kahne scored eight runner-up finishes in addition to his six wins with the No. 5 team, also earning five pole positions, 35 top-five finishes, 73 top-10s and 1,284 laps led. Along the way, he made the playoffs in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2017.
“I think on the performance side, I always expected to do so much better than what I did here,” Kahne said. “I don't know why it didn't work out the way I had hoped, but everything else has been really good."
He noted that much of what has made it so good has been the people. And it’s those same people for whom he wants to close this chapter on a high note Sunday at Homestead.
“I've worked with these guys for a long time,” Kahne said, “so I want to finish strong.”