Friday, November 9, 2018

Dear Kasey: An Open Letter for One Final Goodbye

Credit: Debbie Ross for Skirts and Scuffs

by Courtney Horn

Dear Kasey Kahne,

I was ten years old when I discovered you in the Busch Series season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November of 2003. 

You won that race. The first of many throughout the top three national series (18 Cup, eight Xfinity, and five Trucks), but it wasn’t until the following year when you took over the famous No. 9 from Bill Elliott at Evernham Motorsports that I really took notice. 

Those baby blue eyes and the smile you had to match them were second to none, which is coincidentally where you finished a lot that year, earning you the Rookie of the Year honors after 13 top-five finishes and 14 top-10 finishes with four Pole awards. 

I know a lot of people were wondering if and when you would ever win, but I didn’t have any doubts that you would soon find Victory Lane. It took you 11 races into the 2005 season, but you did it on the same night you won your sixth career pole award. 

The night you won I was watching with my older sister and father, which was our routine at the time. I was so overcome with joy that night that I’m pretty sure I didn’t get any sleep at all (It’s a good thing you won on a Saturday!). 

Your time in NASCAR has been with me throughout many different milestones in my own life. I graduated high school, spent almost three years in college trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to be, and eventually grabbing my first job. 

I have also been introduced to many great people because of you. It was because of you and your No. 5 Farmers Insurance Thank A Million Teachers campaign that I introduced a friend to a whole new sport that quickly became one of her favorites to watch every week. 

I am going to miss turning on my television every Sunday to watch you do what you love with so much dedication and with a never-give-up attitude. I don’t recall a time when you ever gave up without a fight. That’s who you always have been and that’s one of the many reasons why people are fans of yours. 

When you announced your retirement I was shocked, but I was content knowing that you would get to spend it the way you wanted, including getting to watch your son Tanner grow up. 

There were many ups and downs throughout your time in NASCAR, but there are a lot of great memories that I have gotten to make because I was a fan of yours. It was unlike being a fan of any other driver. You were an amazing driver and incredibly dedicated to all your fans, which is why you were the All-Star fan vote winner. 

Your final season and all the accolades you should have gotten were derailed in the most unexpected way, but I am happy to know that outside of a NASCAR car, you are perfectly healthy. 

That’s all that matters to Kahne Nation. 

Thank you, Kasey, for your dedication to this sport and your fans. Thank you for your will, determination, and everything you have taught me these past 15 years. 

We wish you the best in all your future endeavors. 


Sincerely, 

A loyal fan

Courtney


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