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Is Kasey Kahne the Rodney Dangerfield of NASCAR?

Photo courtesy of Kasey Kahne Racing via Twitter (@KKRdirt)

The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield used to complain about not getting respect. One of his biggest schticks, as a matter of fact, centered around his famous quote, “I don’t get no respect.” After watching the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Awards program in Las Vegas late last month, I’m beginning to think Kasey Kahne is the Dangerfield of NASCAR. Why? The driver has retired from NASCAR, and that fact went unnoticed at the year-end banquet.

Several big names have left NASCAR in recent years, or at least have retired from full-time Cup Series competition — Jeff Gordon in 2015, Tony Stewart in 2016 and Dale Earnhardt Jr. a year ago. All three of those drivers saw their career accomplished recognized at the Vegas banquet at the conclusion of their respective final seasons. Kahne? Nope, nothing.

The lack of respect for Kahne at the banquet didn’t go unnoticed. Clint Bowyer tweeted about the slight last week.

“If a guy puts in more than 10 years of his life or so into @NASCAR. I do hope they figure out a way to recognize his being there somehow as we go along,” Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) tweeted. “Kasey should’ve been recognized at the banquet for all he’s given he sport.”

Right on, Bowyer!

Sure, a few drivers departing or recently departed from NASCAR weren’t on the receiving end of fanfare at the banquet, but with good reason. Carl Edwards kind of sprang his retirement on us at the last minute, in January, more than a month after the banquet of his final season. Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray? We’re not really sure whether or not they’ve hung up their helmet. They haven’t announced retirements, yet. I guess McMurray kind of, sort of has with his announcement of his new gig with NASCAR on FOX. But even that announcement just came this week. The banquet was last month. As far as we knew in November, he was looking for a ride. And Kenseth still seemed somewhat non-committal in terms of his racing future.

That brings me around to Kahne, the guy who ran his last race in early September and announced his retirement in October. Yeah, him. Okay, so Kahne didn’t win championships like Stewart and Gordon and wasn’t a 15-time Most Popular Driver like Earnhardt, but his time in NASCAR was memorable and worth remembering.

So, where’s the love, NASCAR?

Something else that has at least kind of had me perplexed is a somewhat lack of respect for Kahne on social media. He’s been referred to there as a mediocre driver. Really? Personally, I like the rebuttal Kahne’s dirt-racing team recently tweeted from the @KKRdirt Twitter account. In case you missed it, it was a photo of Kahne standing in front of his trophy case with the simple quote, “Barely average.”

I didn’t examine the photo closely to figure out exactly which of Kahne’s trophies were in the shot, but here’s a few of Kahne’s NASCAR Cup Series accomplishments worth mentioning. Kahne won 18 points-paying races in the Cup Series, including six in 2006. Three of Kahne’s career wins came in the Coca-Cola 600, and his final win was the 2017 Brickyard 400. Those are marquee race wins, folks.

How many mediocre or average drivers have 18 Cup Series wins, including a Brickyard 400 win and three Coca-Cola 600 victories? I say none, because Kahne wasn’t mediocre or average. It’s a shame the powers that be at NASCAR, apparently, don’t feel the same.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autoracingdailyonline).

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Posted by on December 13, 2018. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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