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Has Kasey Kahne Taken Some Pressure Off Dale Earnhardt Jr. Thus Far? Fan Perspective - NASCAR on Astini News

When looking at Hendrick Motorsports it's hard to say that they don't have the best driver lineup in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage. As a Dale Earnhardt Jr. fan I've gotten used to hearing that he is the one on the team that doesn't deserve to be there.

However, this season marks the first season that Kasey Kahne is in that driver lineup and Kahne now seems to be the one struggling in his new role with the team. While this is bad for Kahne and all his fans, this might be a good thing for Dale Jr. and all of Junior Nation.

Kahne's High Expectations Lessen Earnhardt's

Just like Dale Jr. when he joined Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne is expected to do great things with the organization. However, so far this season he has yet to crack the top ten in any finish. While surely some of this is just bad luck, he is still not living up to his expectations thus far. This has lead to a lot of negative focus in the direction of Kahne, which is lessening the negative focus on Earnhardt, even if only by a little bit.

Pressure on Kahne Not Earnhardt

It probably doesn't hurt that Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been quietly putting together a wonderful start to his season, but for the most part, the pressure might be somewhat off of him and now squarely on his Hendrick teammate. Kahne currently sits 27th in the Sprint Cup Championship standings while Earnhardt is comfortably in 3rd . So, the race results combined with the negative attention shows that Kahne is the one who is likely feeling most of the pressure at Hendrick Motorsports, while Dale Jr. might be getting a short breather.

Welcomed Distraction

For Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne has got to be a welcomed distraction. Before Kahne joined Hendrick all the focus was on Dale Jr. and what seemed like his never ending winless streak. While he still hasn't broken that streak yet, he has shown some flashes of greatness so far this season which might lead him to victory lane once more. Of course with all the negative attention now surrounding Kahne, Dale Jr. is better able to focus on driving and getting back to the winner's circle.

Dale Jr. will never fully escape all his critics as many people just don't like him and feel he only has a ride because of his last name. While Kahne's underperformance thus far is not the only reason that Earnhardt Jr. is enjoying a strong start to his 2012 season, it can't be hurting either. While I hope that all the Hendrick drivers find success this season, I also hope that Dale Jr. can find victory lane before the negative focus that is now on Kahne finds its way back to him.

Jimmy Collins has been a loyal fan of NASCAR since he was a child attending races watching Dale Earnhardt run the famous number 3. He still attends numerous races each season and enjoys writing about NASCAR, particularly in regards to Dale Earnhardt as well as Dale Earnhardt Jr.

More from this contributor:

Top Five Reasons Tony Stewart Won't Repeat as Sprint Cup Champion in 2012

Top Five Reasons Dale Earnhardt Jr. Isn't Overrated

Top Five Reasons Kyle Busch Won't Win the Sprint Cup in 2012

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