Kahne wraps up 2017 season with 33rd-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway
In the last race of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series, the No. 5 Great Clips team scored a 33rd-place finish in Sunday’s Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after rolling off the grid 27th. The effort was a result of a vibration that ended the team’s day early. It was the 37-year-old’s 14th-career start at the 1.5-mile speedway located in Homestead, Florida.
Date: Sunday, November 19, 2017
Event: Ford Ecoboost 400
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Homestead-Miami Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 27th/33rd (Completed 234 of 267 laps)
Before the green flag, crew chief, Darian Grubb acknowledged that this was an emotional day for the No. 5 team as it marked Kasey Kahne’s last race with Hendrick Motorsports, as well as the final race for the No. 5 Chevrolet, which has been a staple of the organization since the team began in 1984. Grubb noted that he was “proud to call you (Kahne) a teammate” and thanked the driver for all he has done for Hendrick Motorsports.
The opening laps proved to be positive for Kahne and the Great Clips team as they used an early caution to take four tires, fuel and get a wedge adjustment that allowed Kahne to advance to 16th before the first round of green-flag stops began on Lap 40. However, an ill-timed speeding penalty during the stop caused the No. 5 Chevrolet to drop back to 33rd, one lap down. Kahne was able to notch a couple of positions before the first stage ended and finished Stage 1 in the 31st position.
Shortly into the second stage, Kahne came over the radio and was concerned that a tire may be going down. However, he and the team later determined that it was likely debris that had affixed itself to the tire causing it to feel that way. Kahne was then quiet on the radio as he worked his way into the top-25 and the ensuing pit stop helped the No. 5 Great Clips team crack the top-20. On Lap 142, a competitor hit the wall and Kahne was not able to avoid the car, running into the back of it and causing damage to the No. 5 Chevrolet. The Great Clips crew went to work as Kahne came down pit road to diagnose and repair the No. 5 Chevrolet so that the car can atleast run at minimum speed before the five-minute clock expired. The team was able to get Kahne back on track despite some damage in time for the conclusion of Stage 2.
Ending Stage 2 six laps down in 36th, the crew took their time to address the damage that occurred now that they were no longer subject to five-minute clock rule. While the team persevered through the incident, the damage on the car took its toll, forcing Kahne multiple laps down as the race continued on. On Lap 249, bad luck struck again as Kahne reported a vibration that was not going away and Grubb made the decision to take the No. 5 Great Clips Chevrolet back to the garage, ending the tumultuous day.
Ultimately, Kahne and the Great Clips team ended the day in 33rd, as the vibration issue was too much of a concern to leave the No. 5 on the track. Kasey Kahne finished the 2017 season 15th in the standings, with a win at the prestigious Brickyard 400 to his credit.