Kasey Kahne left RPM under a shroud of mystery: Was it team finances? Bruised ego? Is Kahne Doomed? Was it a power play by management? While those factors played a small part, the real reasons for Kahne’s departure go much deeper.
Kahne had a great sponsor, women love him and yet he walked away from the Budweiser No. 9 with five races to go. Here are the top five reasons why.
Reason #1: The Stereo Situation
Kahne was incensed at his team-imposed ban from putting his mixes on the garage stereo. At the start of the year, all four RPM drivers promised to alternate who got to control the stereo in the garage, but somehow Kasey’s "Cool Jamz" mix never got any airplay. The final straw was Kahne’s mix CD that was almost entirely composed of Ashlee Simpson and Goo Goo Dolls songs. A team member speaking anonymously referred to the mix as "embarrassing" and the team-imposed ban was "as much for Kasey’s dignity as it was for our ears."
Reason #2: The Nickname Situation
NASCAR is full of cool nicknames (Fatback McSwain, The Intimidator, The Alabama Gang), but the No. 9 garage couldn’t settle on a nickname for Kahne. Kasey preferred "Big Daddy Kahne," but no one else took to calling him that. It’s no secret that Kahne desires a cool nickname almost as much as winning the championship. Unfortunately, most of the staff at RPM referred to him as "Candy Kahne," ISHURK (or ‘I’ve Seen Him Using Rogaine Kahne’) or "The Old Ball and Chain Kahne."
Reason #3: The Dishes Situation
RPM teammate Paul Menard loves Indian food, but hates doing dishes. It’s been widely reported that the RPM kitchen is the messiest in all of NASCAR. After a frustrating race on Saturday night in which a RPM team member unfairly blamed Kahne warning him to start "pulling his own weight with the dishes," Kahne returned to the RPM shop only to see a towering pile of dirty dishes topped off by the remnants of Menard’s chicken curry. It was the last straw.
Reason #4: The Glee Situation
RPM Management knows that Tuesday night is "Glee Night" for Kasey Kahne and yet they routinely schedule meetings for the exact same time. Sure he could record it and watch it later, but then he’d have to worry about Glee-fanatic Elliott Sadler ruining it for him.
Reason #5: The Standings Situation
With AJ Allmendinger in front of Kahne and Menard quickly approaching him in the standings, Kasey could finish the year as the third best driver at RPM. To pass them both would require luck and skill. Last year Jamie McMurray was the odd man out at Roush Fenway. He knew his race days were numbered with the team and he won the fall race at Talladega. Two weeks later, Martin Truex Jr., then a lame duck driver for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing pulled off a top five finish at Phoenix. But it’s way harder to drive to victory lane than it is to drive the moving truck to a shop where you’re the top driver (even if your only competition is Scott Speed).