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This stage of Kasey Kahne’s career is tumultuous almost by definition. What should be the prime of the 31-year-old’s career is a bit muddled, if only for now. Kahne left Richard Petty Motorsports near the end of last season. In 2012, he will join Hendrick Motorsports, replacing Mark Martin.
This year, though, Kahne is taking a one-year ride with Team Red Bull as a teammate of Brian Vickers.
What’s more, Kahne underwent knee surgery recently to repair a torn meniscus. Still, he planned to participate in the next Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway.
Thus far, in the No. 4 Toyota, Kahne has collected three top-10 finishes, though a disastrous Talladega showing relegated him to 18th in the Sprint Cup standings. He was 11th four races ago.
“We’ve been learning some things,” said Kahne. “The cars are a lot different than what we’ve had in the past ... we’ve been off every week, but ... we have a great team with Red Bull behind it.
“It’s really nice to drive awesome equipment, nice cars. TRD (Toyota Racing Development) does a good job. ... The teams came together really well, really quickly, and I think we can run pretty strong throughout this entire season.”
It’s hard to believe this is actually Kahne’s eighth season in NASCAR’s premier series. In 2006, he collected six wins and finished eighth in the final standings. The most recent of Kahne’s 11 victories occurred in September 2009 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Understandably, Kahne prefers not to look ahead to next year, when he will join NASCAR’s premier team, Hendrick. For now, he wants to concentrate on his present status at Team Red Bull.
“It’s back to kind of how it should be, I think,” he said. “I think racing should be fun. It’s a job, but it should be fun, too.
“It’s nice to see all the little things they do to prepare. I think my car is probably one of the nicest cars in that whole garage over there. ... I’m just happy to be where I’m at.”