2011 Stats: Points Finish 14th, 1 Win, 8 Top Fives, 15 Top Tens, Average Running Position 14.9, Average Finish 15.6, Laps Led 340, Driver Rating 89.7
Strengths- Kahne is at his best on intermediate tracks and flat tracks.
Weaknesses- Short tracks and Watkins Glen have often been volatile for Kahne. In past seasons equipment liability has been a problem but I think his new Hendrick ride will cure that.
Intermediate Track Grade- A, Kasey Kahne is as good as they come on intermediate tracks when his car is to his liking. During his tenure at RPM when the organization was competitive Kahne was an elite intermediate track driver. Hendrick Motorsports has the resources and there’s no question they’ll provide Kahne with whatever he needs to succeed. What makes Kahne so good on this track type is his ability to adjust to track conditions. When it comes to running the high line around tracks there might be no one better than Kahne. Kasey is also a really good qualifier on this track type.
What pushes Kasey Kahne to an A grading is his strength across the intermediate track spectrum. He’s good on the 1.5 mile cookie cutters, the 2.0 mile intermediate tracks and the shorter skill intermediate tracks.
Flat Track Grade- B+, Kasey Kahne is the only driver who’s won on the new Phoenix track surface. In terms of early season momentum this should prove to be a big advantage for him. Kahne has also been strong on the other short flat track. (New Hampshire). His results might not show it but he’s led in 3 out of the last four races for a combined 158 laps.
I really like Kahne on the big flat tracks. I would feel comfortable having him on my fantasy team any time NASCAR visits these tracks.
Restrictor Plate Track Grade- B, In 2011 Kasey Kahne scored the 13th most points in the series on the plate tracks. Typically Kahne’s best plate performances of the year come in the July Daytona night race and the fall Talladega race. His five-year average finish in the night race is 7.4 compared to his five-year Daytona 500 19.6 average finish. I think the variable that comes into play is his ability to handle his car on a slick track. In three of the last six fall Talladega races Kahne has recorded strong finishes of 6th, 2nd and 2nd.
Short Track Grade- B, Since Bristol was reconfigured Kasey Kahne has finished in the top eleven in six of nine races. The big change in his performance here is his ability to move around on the track.
Martinsville has never been that friendly to him. He’s only got two top tens here and his last came in 2006. The Dodge’s and Ford’s that Kahne spent the majority of his career in have always been suspect here so I’ll give him a break. I think he’ll get a least one top ten at this venue in 2012.
Richmond is the site of his first career win. He’s proven to be a strong driver at the action track but his record is pretty spotty. In the spring race at Richmond in 2011 Kahne finished 3rd.
Road Course Track Grade- B, Kahne is in the argument for being the best driver at Infineon over the last three years. He won in 2009, finished 4th in 2010 and in 2011 he had a strong run before getting off track late (Yahoo race chart).
Watkins Glen should not be a track you pick Kahne at. He has zero top tens and has a 19.1 average finish. He has no finishes worse than 26th and he’s finished on the lead lap every race. This indicates “he is his average finish” because in no way is it skewed.
How to use Kasey Kahne from a Fantasy NASCAR Perspective in 2012? In 2012 I would really focus on using Kahne at intermediate tracks and the big flat tracks. He’s proven himself at those venues and if you’re in an allocation league I think you’ll be best served using this strategy.