Change is in the air for Kasey Kahne in 2018. He’s out of the Hendrick #5, and now he’s in the Leavine Family Racing #95. Kasey Kahne is excited about his fresh start, but how long will that last because this is a mid-tier team at best. The #95 team will have some Hendrick ties (at crew chief) and they’ll continue their alliance with Richard Childress Racing so there is potential he’ll be a dark horse driver. I will note I don’t think Kasey Kahne out performs his equipment at this stage in his career. In my opinion Michael McDowell who previously drove the #95 did. In 2018 I would recommend watching Kahne closely early in the year so you can gauge how he ranks competitively before you really start using him if you’re in an allocation league.
Strengths – In 2018 Kasey Kahne’s best chance for coming home with good results will be at plate tracks, road courses and short tracks.
Weaknesses – In 2018 I think tracks that are more engineering related in terms of achieving success will be Kahne’s most difficult. That means intermediate tracks and big flat tracks might not be good races for him.
Track Type Fantasy Value Key = Elite > High > Medium-High > Medium > Low
Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – Medium
In 2018 at intermediate tracks I’m not going to set the bar too high for Kasey Kahne. I’m giving him a “Medium” fantasy value on this track type. There’s a lot of unknowns with him heading into the season, but I’m sure they’ll get answered by Auto Club (third intermediate track visited).
Kasey Kahne has historically been at his best at intermediate tracks, but I think things will be different this year. Although the #95 team will have some Hendrick ties and continue their alliance with RCR I just don’t see him being that competitive at these venues this upcoming season. I’m sure he’ll sneak in a few good finishes, but I think they’ll be infrequent.
In 2017 over the 17 races held at intermediate tracks Kasey Kahne scored the 23rd most points, only finished in the top ten twice and had a 21.5 average finish. In only 53% percent of the races last year at these venues did he finish in the top twenty. In 2018 I think he’ll likely have a similar season at intermediate tracks. In terms of setting his baseline fantasy value on this track type I would view him as a high-teens performer on most weekends and then hope for the best.
Flat Track Fantasy Value – Medium
I don’t see a lot of good coming from picking Kasey Kahne at flat tracks in 2018. Historically he’s been pretty solid at these venues, but his change of scenery will likely be a definite negative on this track type in my opinion. In 2017 at flat tracks the #95 team never performed well at these venues and didn’t even have a single top fifteen. Kasey Kahne doesn’t outperform his equipment so I think he’ll just be around for the ride at these venues.
Last year at flat tracks Kasey Kahne wasn’t much better. In 2017 over the 9 combined races at flat tracks Kahne had 1 top ten, 3 top fifteens and an 18.4 average finish. In 4 of the 5 prior seasons on this track type he scored between the 8th to 13th most points on this track type.
Short Track Fantasy Value – Medium-High
At short tracks Kasey Kahne will be cheering for attrition, and that might lead to him sneaking in a few good results. Other than that aspect helping him I think he might be a mid to high-teens driver on most weekends. Although his team will have help from RCR I just think it will be extremely hard for him to walk away with good results on this track type without a little “attrition help.”
Restrictor Plate Track Fantasy Value – Medium-High
At plate tracks I think Kasey Kahne will be under a lot of pressure to perform well. He’ll view them as his best chance to finish well because the draft is the great equalizer. Last year at plate tracks Kasey Kahne had a good season. He scored the 5th most points, had 3 top tens and was one of only two drivers who finished in the top twenty every race. Last year wasn’t a typical season for Kahne at plate tracks though. In the four prior seasons on this track type he accumulated the 35th, 18th, 16th and 40th most points on this track type.
Road Course Track Fantasy Value – Medium-High
Road courses are skill tracks so at these venues in 2018 I would look for Kasey Kahne to put a lot of effort into the weekend because they’ll be some of his better chances of coming home with a good finish. At road courses Kasey Kahne is a respectable performer. At Sonoma he’s finished in the top ten in 4 of the last 5 races and at Watkins Glen he’s typically been around a mid-teens performer.
In 2018 on this track type I would look for Kasey Kahne to finish in the mid to high-teens and then hope for the best. I will note though that he will have dark horse fantasy value.