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Social Roundup: Kasey Kahne gets surprise NASCAR retirement party

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Kasey Kahne‘s NASCAR career came to an unfortunate and unceremonious end this year when dehydration issues kept him from competing in the final 11 races of the season.

Kahne, 38, saw his last start in the Sept. 2 Southern 500. He ended his career with 529 Cup starts, 18 wins, 93 top fives and 176 top 10s.

The Cup Awards banquet came and went without any acknowledgement of Kahne and his accomplishments, which included three Coke 600 wins and a victory in the 2017 Brickyard 400, his last win career win.

But Thursday night saw Kahne get a send off with a surprise retirement party. By the end of the night, the party wound up at a Waffle House according to Kahne.

Clint Bowyer was among those in attendance. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver congratulated Kahne on his career on Twitter and then was critical of the fact that Kahne wasn’t recognized in some form at the banquet in Las Vegas last week.

The Kasey Kahne Racing Twitter account then took a dig at any critics of Kahne’s career with a simple, yet provocative picture of Kahne and his trophy case.

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Jimmie Johnson hopes to compete in Chili Bowl ‘one of these years’

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Jimmie Johnson‘s car swap with Formula One driver Fernando Alonso last week in Bahrain got people’s imaginations running in high gear.

What else could the seven-time Cup champion try his hand at?

“I’d look at anything,” Johnson said after the car swap. “Anything is open. I’m far from done. I want to keep driving and hopefully I can find some good opportunities.”

Johnson’s contract with Hendrick Motorsports goes through 2020. Then the 43-year-old driver could have a lot more time on his hands if he doesn’t renew with the the only team he has ever raced for in Cup.

Johnson, who mentioned his interest in IndyCar road course races, also has had his eye on possibly competing in the Chili Bowl Midget Nationals, a six-night event held in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in January.

The subject was broached by a fan on Twitter.

In the immediate wake of the car swap, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson, NASCAR drivers with dirt racing backgrounds, expressed their desire to get Johnson behind the wheel of a sprint car.

NASCAR drivers have a rich history in the Chili Bowl. Xfinity Series driver Christopher Bell is the two-time defending winner of the event. Former Camping World Truck Series driver Rico Abreu won the two years before that.

Three-time Cup champion Tony Stewart won it in 2007 and 2002 and former Cup driver Dave Blaney won it in 1993.

Larson and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. have competed in the event every year since 2011 and Larson said earlier this year that “the Chili Bowl is bigger than the Daytona 500” for him.

NASCAR’s presence in the Chili Bowl will continue in 2019.

Alex Bowman, Johnson’s teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, is the only full-time NASCAR driver currently on the early entry list for the event.

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Best of NASCAR Awards banquet

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NASCAR’s annual Awards Banquet gave the sport an opportunity to not only crown a champion but also pay tribute to all the drivers, manufacturers and stakeholders that made the season successful.

“To the NASCAR fans, love me or hate me, I just love your passion,” 2018 NASCAR Cup champion Joey Logano said when he received the ultimate honor in stock car racing. “That is one of the biggest things for me, is passion. Whether you’re booing or cheering, it’s pretty good. We all do it for you guys.”

Here are some of the highlights:

Champion: Joey Logano

“(Wife Brittany Logano) is my rock,” Logano said. “I knew this was when I was going to have a hard time. Family means a lot to me, alright? We have so many long talks at night. I’m not always smiling. I know it looks like I smile a lot, and I do when I’m happy. She’s there at my lowest points, it really brings me back up. She’s an amazing mother to our child and what an amazing year, to be able to have Hudson now and now a championship.”

Logano was introduced by Make-a-Wish recipient Gavin Grubbs.

Champion Car Owner: Roger Penske

During his time on stage, Roger Penske acknowledged the other owners in the series who challenge him and Team Penske to be better, including the owner of the closing Furniture Row Racing.

“One last comment, very important to me and this is congratulations to Barney Visser … Martin Truex (Jr.), Cole Pearn, you’ve brought so much to this series over the last several years.”

Second-place Martin Truex Jr.

“Looking forward to the future, for sure – but definitely the end of an era with Furniture Row … thank you Barney (Visser) for all you’ve done for me and this sport.”

Truex’s Furniture Row Racing Era ended with one championship, 17 wins, 56 top fives and top 10s in more than half of Truex’s 191 starts with that organization.

Third-place Kevin Harvick

“Our road to the championship round certainly had some challenges along the way, but our team performed when it mattered the most and believed in each other,” Harvick said.

“I want to thank the fans – and especially all the No. 4 fans for all the support this year,” Harvick continued. “And all you haters: I still see you.”

Fourth-place: Kyle Busch

Kyle Busch took to the stage with the comment, “This sucks. Worst of the best,” before congratulating Logano on his championship. Busch noted several highlights of the season including tying his career-best number of victories and passing the 50-win mark.

Busch offered a shout-out to Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth who most likely ran their final Cup races during the 2018 season.

“I wanted to make mention of Matt again this year in case he’s really retiring this time,” Busch said. “I think we’ve all kind of seen this story before with another Roush guy, Mark Martin years ago. I don’t know. Maybe this time’s true. Time will tell.”

Most Popular Driver Award

Dale Earnhardt Jr. handed over the award that he won 15 consecutive times to Chase Elliott.

Bill Elliott won the award a record 16 times (1984-88, 1991-2000 and 2002). Dale Earnhardt Sr. won in 2001.

“So cool that it stayed between Earnhardt and Elliott for so long,” Elliott told Earnhardt as he accepted the award. “I am glad though that you quit a year before you broke Dad’s record.”

MORE: Chase Elliott wins NMPA most popular driver award

Other Notable Moments

Ryan Blaney joked that he had sent Jimmie Johnson a Christmas card in return for his gift at the Charlotte Roval. In that race, Johnson’s contact with Truex Jr. on the final lap opened the door for Blaney’s second career win.

Social Roundup: NASCAR drivers react to Jimmie Johnson, Fernando Alonso car swap

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The car swap between Jimmie Johnson and Fernando Alonso occurred Monday in Bahrain.

Some NASCAR stars took to Twitter to react to the event and they were envious of Johnson’s opportunity.

The smoke from Johnson and Alonso’s doughnuts to end the day had barely cleared before the fantasizing over more car swaps began, spurred on by SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “The Morning Drive.”

NASCAR drivers who came from sprint car racing – including sprint car team owners Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson – really want to give their competitors a taste of the dirt racing life.

And Chase Elliott, a former teammate of Kahne’s, had his interest in Kahne’s proposal piqued.

Brad Sweet, who races for Kahne, noted the possibility of such an opportunity occurring is aided by their shared sponsorship.

What car swaps would you want to see? Let us know in the comments.

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Active Cup wins list after 2018

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The 70th season of Cup racing was put to bed last weekend as Joey Logano won the season finale and the championship.

Over 36 races, the series saw 12 drivers win at least one race.

Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch combined to win 16 races at eight each.

Chase Elliott and Erik Jones each won their first career Cup races.

Here’s a look at how the active driver wins list looks after the season.

This list is made up of drivers who started in the season finale, including Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray, who likely made their last or next-to-last Cup starts.

Kasey Kahne missed the final 11 races of the season, as issues with hydration cut his season and career short. He finished with 18 career victories.

Trevor Bayne made 21 starts in a part-time capacity, sharing the No. 6 Ford with Kenseth. His only Cup win remains the 2011 Daytona 500.

1. Jimmie Johnson – 83 wins (Winless in last 59 starts)
2. Kyle Busch – 51 wins (Eight wins in 2018 tied career-best)
3. Kevin Harvick – 45 wins (Eight wins in 2018 is a career-best by three)
4. Matt Kenseth – 39 wins (Winless in 15 starts in 2018)
5. Denny Hamlin – 31 wins (Went winless for the first time in 13 full-time Cup seasons)
6. Kurt Busch – 30 wins (One win in 2018; Has won at least once in last five seasons)
7. Brad Keselowski – 27 wins (Three wins in 2018; Has won at least one race in last eight seasons.)
8. Joey Logano – 21 wins (Three wins in 2018; Has won at least one race in last seven seasons)
9. Martin Truex Jr. – 19 wins (Four wins in 2018; 17 wins in the last four seasons)
10. Ryan Newman – 18 wins (Winless in last 68 starts)
11. Clint Bowyer – 10 wins (Two wins in 2018; Victory at Martinsville in March ended a 190-race winless streak)
12. Jamie McMurray – 7 wins (Has gone winless since 2013)
13. Kyle Larson – 5 wins (Went winless this season)
14. Chase Elliott – 3 wins (Earned all three wins in an 11-race stretch this season)
15. Aric Almirola, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., David Ragan – 2 wins
20. Erik Jones, AJ Allmendinger, Chris Buescher, Regan Smith, Paul Menard – 1 win