Any driver, when they are unsure of their future, tries to remain focused on the job at hand. The team they are representing still has a goal in mind at the end of the day. That goal…win.
With contracts still being negotiated, and the NASCAR silly season already getting a few new shakeups, some drivers are fighting to just keep their ride.
There is no better way to make a case to stay than taking the win in one of the marque races of the year.
Kasey Kahne never saw a victory in over two seasons of action. After taking over the No. 5 for Rick Hendrick when Mark Martin spent three seasons at the wheel, and all the high expectations suddenly were roaring loud. But the roar has faded, and the wonder of what is to come next season has taken full reign. The Hendrick stable already had a partial look for the 2018 season, as Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott are locked in. Plus, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. leaving for NBC, Alex Bowman now takes over the No. 88.
So where is Kahne going to land?
If he hopes to keep his ride for next season, his performance on Sunday certainly gave him hope. One late restart, on a day that ran almost into darkness, and one final crossing of the overtime line gave Kahne his biggest win of his career, alongside his two victories in the sport’s longest race. It also meant that he gave Rick Hendrick a 10th appearance at the “Yard of Bricks” where he, Kahne, and the team knelt down, and placed their lips on the bricks.
In a silly season that is only expected to have many more moments over the summer, the silly season in the standings is that no one anticipated Kahne to pull off the win. The favorite pick, he fell out in a wreck, while only one had a solid day.
Where does everyone stand? Take a look at the updated points after the Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400:
Ashley Hobbs (655) Kyle Busch finished 34th –  16
Rob Tiongson (654) Denny Hamlin finished 17th –  7
Misan Akuya (631) Jamie McMurray finished 15th –  15
Penny Whitecotton (612) Kevin Harvick finished 6th –  6
Sal Sigala Jr. (556) Kyle Busch finished 34th –  13
Ashley Hull (553) Kyle Busch finished 34th –  14
Patti Rodisch (551) Jimmie Johnson finished 27th –  14
Ashley McCubbin (549) Martin Truex Jr. finished 33rd –  9
Klarissa Mitchell (549) Jamie McMurray finished 15th –  0
Dalton Hastings (546) Kyle Busch finished 34th –  5
Billy Fellin (526) Chase Elliott finished 39th –  9
Dustin Parks (520) Kyle Larson finished 28th –  8
Rob Blount (511) Jimmie Johnson finished 27th –  3
Next Race: If staying on a big, flat, sweeping track is a theme of the season, NASCAR is hitting a trio. First was New Hampshire, then Indianapolis, and this upcoming weekend is a trip back to the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania to hit the three distinct straightaways, and three very different corners.
Pocono Raceway hosted it’s first race nearly two months ago, and saw a first-time winner. Is a case of deja vu approaching?
Participants, get ready for another 160-lap marathon, because those picks need locked in by Thursday, July 27, at 10 p.m. ET for the Pennsylvania 400.