Kasey Kahne starts hitting stride too little, too late
The regular season for Kasey Kahne wasn't one that left you feeling like he was snubbed when Chris Buescher's Cinderella win at Pocono locked him into the Chase, leaving Kahne the first guy out of the playoffs.
After seeing Kahne's performance improve over the last month, it's both encouraging and depressing for fans of the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports team.
Kahne has posted four-straight top 10 finishes, starting with a 7th-place finish in the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.
In the first two races of the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the 36-year-old veteran finished 7th at Chicagoland and 9th at New Hampshire.
If Kahne was one of the 16 drivers in the Chase, he'd be ranked No. 9 in the standings heading into the elimination race at Dover this weekend.
But, he sits in 17th and the best he can do is continue to finish strong and hope that it carries over to 2017.
The reasons the Enumclaw, Washington-native isn't in the Chase -- he hasn't led a lap in 2016, finished outside the top-20 eight times, and his best finish is 4th-place, twice.
An ode to consistency for Kahne would be that he has the 15th-best average finish (15.5) in 2016, better than Chase drivers, Tony Stewart (17.5) and Buescher (26.9).
While fans of Kahne could use those numbers as reasons their driver should be in the Chase over someone like Stewart or Buescher is fine.
The truth is that Kahne drives for one of the premier teams in NASCAR with Hendrick Motorsports and shouldn't have been in the position where he needed a miracle at Richmond to make the Chase.