NASCAR SPRINT CUP | POCONO RACEWAY ( 3 P.M., NBCSN)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press
LONG POND, Pa. — Kasey Kahne was busy celebrating his win in the Brickyard 400 and missed his team owner state plans are not set for the No. 5 car next season.
‘‘I didn’t hear that until I got home,’’ Kahne said.
But there was little need for a spoiler alert warning on team owner Rick Hendrick’s news.
‘‘I pretty much knew it,’’ Kahne said, laughing. ‘‘There’s not a lot you can do. I’m signed there through 2018 and it’s up to him what I do next year and the rest of this year.”
Kahne’s future driving the No. 5 Chevrolet beyond this season remains murky, even with his milestone victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He made the traditional kiss of the bricks and spent the week celebrating with friends and his crew. His team even lined up some bricks back at the team shop and let employees who didn’t make the trip pucker up and kiss ‘em.
His losing streak was over. Some of the angst over his middling season evaporated, too.
‘‘Yeah, for me,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s good for our team, as well, and our future. Who knows? It’s definitely good for our future.’’
Is one win at the Brickyard really enough to save his job?
Kahne’s fate has been in limbo for most of the season because of run-of-the mill finishes and sponsorship woes.
‘‘There’s nothing concrete or done and that hasn’t changed,’’ Hendrick said in Indianapolis. ‘‘We’ll see how things shake out at the end of the year.’’
William Byron, the 19-year-old sensation and Hendrick prospect, has dominated the Xfinity series and will join Jimmie Johnson, Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman in the four-car stable next year.
Without that needed infusion of sponsorship dollars, Kahne could be elsewhere in 2018.
Kahne’s losing streak stretched 102 races.
‘‘We haven’t had wins out of that shop in a while,’’ he said. Almost three years — a stunning dry spell for once one of the top young drivers in NASCAR.
Kahne overcame scorching heat, painful muscle cramps and a grueling, crash-marred, six-hour marathon to win at Indy.
‘‘We didn’t have the fastest car on Sunday, but we had a really good car and our strategy worked out perfect,’’ he said. ‘‘Usually our strategy doesn’t work. That strategy worked, so we ended up in victory lane. It’s tough.’’
He has two career wins (2008, 2013) at Pocono Raceway and a third could make a decision for Hendrick that much tougher.
Kahne reveled in the spoils of victory. He’d rather enjoy some job security.
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