Kahne's 2010 season was filled with drama off the track, but he was quiet for the most part. Rumors about his 2011 plans and conflicts with Richard Petty Motorsports personnel undoubtedly contributed to his lackluster 20th-place finish, but his future is now set in stone. He will drive for Red Bull Racing this season before joining Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 and beyond.
Equipment issues and general poor performances plagued Kahne throughout last season. After posting two wins and 14 top-10s in 2008 and 2009, Kahne went winless with just 10 top-10 finishes in 2010. He finished the year with an 18.9 average finish. The only bright spot from his struggles was an early release from RPM, which allowed Kahne to join Red Bull Racing for the final five events of the 2010 season. The extra experience should ease the transition and help Kahne hit the ground running in 2011.
He has been a stud at the 1.5-mile and 2.0-mile ovals throughout his career, and he should return to form in 2011. Red Bull Racing has excelled at the intermediate ovals since joining the Cup Series, and the organization should help Kahne return to Victory Lane. Both sides know going in the relationship is a one-year deal. They have nothing to lose, which could make for a fun year for the No. 4 team.
Barring some unforeseen events, Kahne should be back in the top 15 this season. When he is running in the top 10 at intermediate tracks on a regular basis, he is always going to be in the mix for a Chase spot. From a fantasy perspective, he can be an excellent addition to any lineup when used properly. Kahne really isn't an all-around performer, and he is a top-20 driver, at best, at the other track types. Stick to his strengths, and Kahne can help in any format.
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