Kasey Kahne’s Retirement Goes Unmentioned at NASCAR Cup Series Banquet in Vegas
One veteran driver, Clint Bowyer, doesn’t understand why Kahne’s career was overlooked at the event.
When the best of the NASCAR Cup Series flooded Las Vegas in late November for the 2018 season’s end awards and recognitions, the retirement of Kasey Kahne went unmentioned. The slight was noticed by at least one other NASCAR driver—Clint Bowyer.
Bowyer’s tweet came Dec. 6 after attending a surprise retirement party thrown for Kahne by his dirt racing team.
Other recent NASCAR retirees have been recognized during banquets following their respective final seasons—Jeff Gordon in 2015, Tony Stewart in 2016, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. in 2017. The ends of some other drivers’ careers haven’t received acknowledgement at the season-ending banquet, but many others who saw their career curtains close in silence didn’t officially retire. Drivers like Greg Biffle as well as, possibly, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray may wind up unofficially retired as results of sponsorship disappearances or loss of employment; they never made official announcements of retirement. Carl Edwards? He didn’t make it official until about a month before his first season of retirement, well after the prior year's banquet.
Kahne, though, announced his health problem-induced retirement more than a month before the close of the 2018 season. And Kahne wasn’t exactly a no-name driver who was only in the sport for a brief time. Kahne competed in 529 races over the course of his 15-year Cup Series career. He won 18 times, including six wins in 2016 while driving for a Ray Evernham-owned Dodge team. He finished a career-best fourth in the 2012 standings.
The official Twitter account of Kasey Kahne Racing disputes claims that Kahne’s NASCAR career was “barely average” with a shot of the driver’s trophy case.
A few NASCAR personalities, aside from Bowyer, turned out for Kahne’s retirement party, though, including 2018 NASCAR Most Popular Driver Chase Elliott. Kahne was Elliott’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports for the first two full seasons of Elliott’s Cup Series career in 2016 and 2017.
A problem keeping properly hydrated, which led to extreme exhaustion, resulted in Kahne cutting his 2018 season short in early September, and the inability of his doctors to find a resolution to the problem forced the driver’s retirement from NASCAR. Kahne will be able to continue running short dirt-track races, though, and plans to do so.