By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
Hendrick Motorsports announced early this week that they have signed Kasey Kahne to a multi-year deal beginning in 2012. Kahne reportedly will be taking over for Mark Martin in the No. 5 car. Hendrick made the move because he wanted to do what was right for the future… I only have one question though. Is Kasey Kahne what is best for the team in the long run?
Honestly with Mark Martin on your team you basically have NASCAR’s version of Brett Favre, which means he is never going to retire. Seriously never. So what Hendrick Motorsports in essence has done is force out a driver who would have been good to go for the next 30 years or so, just so they can get one of NASCAR’s most marketable drivers.
So Mark Martin will last longer in this sport than Kasey Kahne, so the longevity wasn’t the reason the move was made, so maybe it was performance? Not a chance.
Martin won five races just last year, en route to finishing second in the point standings for the fifth time in his career. The highest Kasey Kahne has ever finished in the year end point standings is an eighth place effort in 2006. That’s pretty decent, but it doesn’t quite cut it in comparison to what Mark Martin has accomplished.
Through his career Martin has won 40 races already, and with another 30 years to go in his career he may just have a shot at Richard Petty’s all-time win mark of 200 victories. Kahne, who realistically has maybe 10 to 15 years left in his career has only racked up 11 wins. So as you can see I the stats don’t lie… this move makes absolutely no sense what so ever, and it’s really a slap in the face to one of our sport’s legends.
Sure Kahne will go on to drive the No. 5 car in 2012, and he’ll probably do alright, but just imagine what Rick Hendrick will be thinking in 2040… Why did I ever get rid of Mark Martin? Especially when Mark “The Kid” Martin’s perseverance finally pays off, and he becomes a five time Sprint Cup Series Champion when he retires at the end of the ’40 season.
Also what this now means Hendrick Motorsports will be equipped with three of the most popular drivers in the Series (Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, and Kahne). The three “popular” drivers have combined for only six wins in the past 79 races. Hendrick Motorsports used to be associated with dominance, and non-stop winning, but now they are transforming into nothing more than the who’s who of advertising in NASCAR.
Total boneheaded move all around in my opinion.
DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to be comical, and is in no way seriously my opinion on the Kasey Kahne acquisition by Hendrick Motorsports. I just figured it was time for a little light hearted satire on a soggy day thus far at Texas Motor Speedway.