We're only two weeks into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season but if one driver has appeared to make some big moves forward, it's Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.
It appeared to be the same old song for Kahne on Sunday at Atlanta after he fell down a lap early and was stuck in the middle of the pack for most of the race.
But unlike in past seasons, Kahne was resilient and battled his way back to the lead lap and brought home a fourth-place finish.
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"For us, the last year or two it's been really hard (to overcome poor starts) and today we did it, so that was really nice to see and nice to be part of and we will just keep building from there," Kahne said after the race on Sunday. "It feels really good to dig out of where we started. It wasn't good at the start."
One of the biggest issues for Kahne has been an inability to turn a bad car into a contender. He overcame that on Sunday by turning a 15th-place car into a top-five finisher, which bodes well for the No. 5 team.
"We started really slow. I was so loose and the adjustments were perfect today," Kahne said "They fixed the car. Keith (Rodden) and the engineers did a great job of making the car better; a lot better at that. But then when you're behind you just battle and battle long runs. It was tough. But we got the car a lot better and the pit stops were perfect there
"We finally got the lucky dog. I had to battle Matt (Kenseth) a while for that. He was fast. I knew he would go to the front once he got it. But then once we got it, we did the same thing. We just had a great car and our final pit stop took us from 11th to sixth. That was key for a top five. So, that was really good."
The key to success in NASCAR's top level comes from a full team effort so the fact that Kahne got the adjustments he needed and had fast pit stops shows that the entirety of the No. 5 team is on the same page at the start of 2017.
Kahne sits ninth in the points standings as the field heads to Las Vegas this weekend, where he finished 10th in 2016.