Engine woes at Loudon hurt Kahne's title hopes

BY foxsports • September 22, 2009

Kasey Kahne became the first Chase casualty at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Kahne's engine failed on Lap 67 after the No. 9 Dodge had run in the top 10 throughout his time in the race.

The culprit — a $14,000 crankshaft — according to team sources. Those sources take offense at any suggestions that sabotage of lack of a lack of manpower was involved.

Who's the boss?


Kasey Kahne's answer to a simple question gives a sense of the uncertainty at his team.

Kahne finished 38th in the Sylvania 300. Three-time defending champion Jimmie Johnson is the only driver in the Chase's five-year history to finish worse than sixth in New Hampshire and go on to win the title.

"I thought it was coming," Kahne said. "All the gauges looked good, but I knew that it was coming. It started running bad down the backstretch, and that was all she wrote when we got to the frontstretch.

"We had a good car. I think we were up to eighth or ninth, It seemed like our Budweiser Dodge was decent. We had some things to do to make it better.

"It's disappointing. It's better than last week, because we wouldn't have been in the Chase. We just have to work extra hard now. I don't know how this all works. You never know in the Chase if you can have a mulligan or not. This team is doing a nice job. We'll be 12th when we leave here. Hopefully, we can make gains in those final nine (races)."

Kahne was seeded fifth among the 12 drivers in the 10-race Chase, and his berth in NASCAR's playoffs had been a boon to the troubled operation at Richard Petty Motorsports.

But with the announcement 10 days ago that RPM had a letter of intent to merge with Yates Racing, the future of the company's engine department is bleak.

Given Yates' involvement in the building of engines for the current eight Ford teams, it's clear that the current engine program — and approximately 80 jobs — will be eliminated in the move.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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