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From the Marbles

2012 season in the rear view: Kasey Kahne

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

Vitals: 4th in the points standings. 2 wins, 12 top 5s, 19 top 10s. 4 DNFs.

Moment to remember: Kasey Kahne's first win with Hendrick Motorsports came at Charlotte in May in the Coca-Cola 600, but his win at New Hampshire in June was more significant. Kahne has always been very, very good at Charlotte, but not so much at Loudon, where he hadn't won and even after the victory, sports an average finish of 16.2.

In the Lenox Tools 301, Kahne took the lead for the first time on lap 236 under caution and held on the rest of the way.

Moment to forget: Man, Kahne's Hendrick tenure got off to an inauspicious start in the results column.

He came to Hendrick with long-time crew chief Kenny Francis, and they had speed to start the season -- not counting Daytona, the first time that Kahne started outside the top 10 was Dover in the 13th race of the season. But the results didn't show it, like when he started on the pole at Martinsville and lost an engine and finished 38th. At that point, he was 31st in the points standings.

The wrap: Just like teammate Jeff Gordon, Kahne did an admirable job digging himself out of an early points hole. After making a strong comeback from being 31st after Martinsville, consecutive crashes at Pocono and Michigan knocked him back to 16th in the points standings.

But also like Gordon, the problems that Kahne suffered from weren't from a lack of speed and Kahne safely made it in the Chase via the first Wild Card spot. He was a contender for the Chase title too, that is until a 25th place finish at Texas in the third-to-last race of the season doomed his chances.

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