Author: Nick Bromberg

NASCAR Power Rankings: How much should we penalize Chase Elliott?

Welcome to Power Rankings. As always, Power Rankings are far from a scientific formula. In fact, it’s the perfect blend of analytics and bias against your favorite driver. Direct all your complaints to us at and we’ll try to have some fun.

1. Martin Truex Jr.: We’ve mentioned this before in Power Rankings, but it’s worth bringing up again now that the playoffs are here: it may be more important for Truex to win races and stages to prevent other people from getting playoff points than it is for Truex to accumulate them himself.

With every stage and race victory Truex nets, he prevents another driver from doing the same. With an already massive playoff point tally (58) and a berth to the second round, Truex is already in great shape to get to the final round of the playoffs. He can make it harder for everyone else — especially in the third round — if he keeps vacuuming them up.

2. Kevin Harvick: It sure felt like Kevin Harvick was a man who just wanted to get to the finish line with his car in one piece on Sunday. Harvick’s made a habit of making the first round dramatic in recent years. And let’s be real, Stewart-Haas Racing hasn’t shown the outright speed to make up for poor finishes in 2017.

Harvick was third on Sunday, so perhaps the team is going to be a threat at the front of the field every week. But if you thought Harvick was one of the two or three favorites to win a race in the first round before Sunday’s race, you’re a die-hard No. 4 fan.

3. Denny Hamlin: Hamlin led one measly lap and didn’t have the blazing speed that Kyle Busch or Martin Truex Jr. had. But he wasn’t far behind — or simply didn’t have the clean air they did. Hamlin was a mainstay in the top five and finished fourth.

4. Kyle Busch: It’s ironic when a team swaps pit crews to help its pit crew performance and the new pit crew makes two massive mistakes, right?

After he dominated the first stage, Busch had to pit at the beginning of the second stage because he thought he had a loose wheel. As he came down for that problem to be fixed, his gas man had his feet in the pit stall while he wasn’t holding a gas gan. That was a penalty for being over the wall too soon and Busch had to come down pit road under green a second time.

He got one of his two laps back and ended up finishing 15th.

5. Kyle Larson: Larson get the honor of being the fastest Chevrolet among Chevrolets who weren’t penalized after the race. Larson finished fifth.

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6. Chase Elliott: Hey, here’s the guy who had the fastest Chevy but ended up getting docked 15 points for unapproved aerodynamic adjustments his team made. Was it tape or something similar on the spoiler?

Is that black mark tape?!?! (Getty)

And if it was tape on the spoiler, what does it say about the aerodynamic sensitivity of the Cup Series cars that something seemingly so inconsequential could have such an impact?

7. Brad Keselowski: Keselowski started fifth and finished sixth and stayed in that neighborhood all day. He didn’t seem to have a car capable of challenging those that finished ahead of him, but at the same time, he was better than nine other playoff drivers.

8. Jamie McMurray: McMurray had quite the comeback after his spin, though it should be noted that the caution NASCAR threw for his harmless spin down the backstretch did wonders for the comeback. Because NASCAR threw the caution, McMurray was able to stay on the lead lap. Meanwhile, two screwups by Kyle Busch’s pit crew meant he was fighting for the final two-thirds of the race to get back on the lead lap.

9. Jimmie Johnson: Chad Knaus probably uses tape so awesome on Jimmie Johnson’s spoiler that you don’t even know it’s there. Invisible tape is the new wave of NASCAR spoiler tape.

Johnson finished eighth. And no, before you start looking for your sense of humor, we’re not accusing Johnson’s car of having illicit tape.

10. Matt Kenseth: Kenseth finished ninth, one spot behind Johnson. He’s also ninth in the points standings now. But we have him in 10th. Sorry Matt.

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11. Ryan Blaney: Blaney finished 11th, right behind McMurray.

12. Joey Logano: Logano gets the courtesy spot reserved for a driver not in the playoffs after he finished seventh on Sunday. Will he get a win in the playoffs? He’s by far the best bet of any non-playoff driver, though it may not be a good bet overall.

The Lucky Dog: Paul Menard’s 14th-place finish was his best since finishing third at Daytona in July.

The DNF: Erik Jones’ spin relegated him to 33rd, between Reed Sorenson and Jeffrey Earnhardt.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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D2 player Robert Grays dies after injuries suffered while making tackle

(Getty Images)

Midwestern State football player Robert Grays died Tuesday after he was hospitalized for a neck injury sustained during the team’s game Saturday. He was 19.

Grays was injured making a tackle in late fourth quarter of the team’s 35-13 victory over Texas A&M-Kingsville.

(via Midwestern State)

“[Wednesday] we mourn the loss of one of our own. Robert Grays died yesterday from critical injuries suffered in Saturday’s game,” MSU president Suzanne Shipley said in a statement. “I know you will join me in expressing the sincerest condolences of the MSU community to Robert’s family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts in the coming days.

“Robert touched many lives while attending the university, but perhaps he will be remembered best for his smile. He was an inspiration on and off the field to those around him, and he will be remembered with love and affection by his friends, classmates, coaches and teammates.”

Grays was a cornerback for the Mustangs and played in all 11 games as a freshman in 2016. He had been transferred to a hospital in his native Houston following his injury.

“We both played last year as true freshmen and we always told each other we were going to make it,” teammate Bryce Martinez told the Wichita Falls Times-Record News before Grays’ death. “And we still are. The other night when I went to go see him, he wasn’t looking too good, but then I looked at him and it just felt like he’s going to make it, I just saw it. People think it’s going to take a miracle… Rob is a miracle and the things he would do are miraculous. He’s the strongest dude I know, the smallest dude I know and the biggest heart I know.”

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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Qualcomm Stadium renamed San Diego County Credit Union Stadium

SAN DIEGO, CA – SEPTEMBER 16: Fans and players look on while half of the stadiums lights went out during the second half of a game between the San Diego State Aztecs and the Stanford Cardinal at Qualcomm Stadium on September 16, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Qualcomm Stadium is set to end its useful life as San Diego County Credit Union Stadium.

Per the San Diego Union-Tribune, the credit union paid $500,000 for the naming rights to San Diego State’s home field. The agreement lasts through the end of 2018 before the city plans to close the stadium.

San Diego State still plays at Qualcomm even though the NFL’s Chargers left for Los Angeles after the 2016 season. The stadium, which opened in 1967 as San Diego Stadium had a light failure during the Aztecs’ upset win over Stanford on Saturday night. The game was postponed for 23 minutes with less than four minutes to go in the fourth quarter after the lights went out.

[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]

The Aztecs are looking for a new football home post-SDCCU Stadium and have discussed adding two years to the lease at the stadium through the 2020 season. That would give the school enough time to build a new football stadium.

A new lease at the stadium would likely be subsidized by taxpayers. The UT reported in January that the lease from SDSU and the Holiday Bowl and Poinsettia Bowls at the stadium was worth $160,000 per year. The city spends over $10 million a year to keep the stadium open.

More on Yahoo Sports: 

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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Chase Elliott penalized 15 points after Chicago

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Chase Elliott was penalized 15 points by NASCAR on Tuesday after the sanctioning body found unapproved “modification of components to affect the aerodynamic properties of the vehicle.”

His crew chief Alan Gustafson has been suspended for a race and fined $15,000. Car chief Joshua Kirk has also been suspended for a race.

Elliott finished second to Martin Truex Jr. in Sunday’s playoff-opening race at Chicago. As a result of the penalty, he’s now in eighth in the standings. Elliott was sixth, two points behind fourth, immediately after the race.

His second-place finish is now “encumbered,” meaning it can’t be used as a tiebreaker at the end of the first round. If drivers are tied in the points standings, the best finish in a given round is used as the tiebreaker.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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Kasey Kahne to drive No. 95 for Leavine Family Racing in 2018

Kasey Kahne’s whirlwind week continued Tuesday as Leavine Family Racing said he would be driving the team’s No. 95 car in 2018.

Kahne is leaving Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the season. He’s driven for Hendrick since 2012, when he joined the team after a gap year at Red Bull Racing.

“I want to thank Leavine Family Racing for this opportunity and will work as hard as possible to help them continue improving,” Kahne said in a team statement. “I am ready for this challenge and look forward to making a fresh start. [Team owner Bob Leavine] and everyone at Leavine Family Racing put a lot into their program and I’m excited to become a part of it.”

Kahne will replace Michael McDowell, who has driven for the team since 2014.

“Overall, we think Kasey is a good fit and felt we needed a change. There is absolutely nothing that Michael did, it was just a matter of us having to make some changes to help us move up the ladder and be a factor in the playoffs,” Leavine said. “I know Kasey will bring things that will help us, and I believe our environment will be conducive to his confidence level, which will in turn raise our confidence level. It just seemed like the right time and the right fit for our team.”

[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]

Thanks to his Brickyard 400 win in July, Kahne is making his first playoff appearance since 2014. He finished 21st in the first playoff race on Sunday and Hendrick announced that Darian Grubb would serve as Kahne’s crew chief for the rest of the year.

That same day, ESPN reported the details of the contract between Farmers Insurance and Hendrick Motorsports to serve as Kahne’s sponsor. In 2014, the team paid over $16 million to sponsor Kahne’s No. 5 car. The sponsorship rights to entire Cup Series were reportedly sold to Monster Energy for a guaranteed two years at $20 million a year.

McDowell is currently 25th in the Cup Series standings with an average finish of 21.6. Kahne’s average finish is 20.0.

Kahne is being replaced by William Byron at Hendrick in 2018.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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Tennessee DC Bob Shoop's explanation of Florida's game-winning TD is thorough

You can learn a lot about football and the way coaches think and act by listening to Tennessee defensive coordinator Bob Shoop’s explanation of Florida’s game-winning touchdown vs. the Volunteers on Saturday.

Shoop started his media availability Tuesday with the explanation, figuring that the assembled media in attendance were all going to ask him about Feleipe Franks’ 63-yard touchdown pass to Tyrie Cleveland with no time left. If you’re a football nerd, the above video is must-see viewing.

(via CBS)

If you can’t watch on your device wherever you are, here are a few notes. His comments sure make a lot more sense than Tennessee coach Butch Jones’ goal-line offense one from a day before.

• Shoop said the team was thinking Florida would play for a potential game-winning field goal by kicker Eddy Piniero. He said descriptions of the play as a “Hail Mary” are “inaccurate.”

“To me, I would describe it as a basketball player hitting a three-quarter court shot to win a game at the end of the game,” Shoop said.

• The strategy on the last play was to call timeout if Florida showed it was looking to throw a Hail Mary. Tennessee didn’t call timeout because the Gators didn’t do that. Shoop said the team had four defenders over the three receivers lined up on one side and three defenders over two receivers on the other side.

“We took away the play that they ran, which is the irony of the whole thing,” Shoop said.

• Shoop said he figured that if the play happened in the second or third quarter, Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks would have taken off up the field as he left the pocket.

But Franks didn’t and he was able to sync up with Cleveland, who started to run a deep post on the left side of the field.

“He threw a dime. The player got behind our player and it was a disastrous ending,” Shoop said.

(Via CBS)

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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SEC releases 2018 conference schedule

The SEC logo is shown outside of the Hyatt Regency hotel for the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference’s annual media gathering, Monday, July 10, 2017, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

You can start making your travel arrangements for 2018’s SEC football games.

The conference announced its schedule for next season Tuesday. The SEC Championship Game will be played on Sat. Dec. 1 and the rotating cross-division games for the season are Alabama-Missouri, Arkansas-Vanderbilt, Auburn-Tennessee, Florida-Mississippi State, Georgia-LSU, Kentucky-Texas A&M and Ole Miss-South Carolina.

The games mark the first rematches in these rotating games since the conference expanded to 14 teams with Missouri and Texas A&M before the 2012 season. Mizzou plays Auburn on Saturday. The two sets of Tigers are the only two teams to not have played a regular-season conference game against each other.

Here’s what the team by team schedule looks like:


Sept. 15: @ Ole Miss
Sept. 22: Texas A&M
Oct. 6: @ Arkansas
Oct. 13: Missouri
Oct. 20: @ Tennessee
Nov. 3: @ LSU
Nov. 10: Mississippi State
Nov. 24: Auburn


Sept. 22: @ Auburn
Sep. 29: vs. Texas A&M
Oct. 6: Alabama
Oct. 13: Ole Miss
Oct. 27: Vanderbilt
Nov. 10: LSU
Nov. 17: @ Mississippi State
Nov. 24: @ Missouri


Sept 15: LSU
Sept. 22: Arkansas
Oct. 6: @ Mississippi State
Oct. 13: Tennessee
Oct. 20: @ Ole Miss
Nov. 3: Texas A&M
Nov. 10: @ Georgia
Nov. 24: @ Alabama


Sept. 8: Kentucky
Sept. 22: Tennessee
Sept. 29: @ Mississippi State
Oct. 6: LSU
Oct. 13: @ Vanderbilt
Oct. 27: vs. Georgia
Nov. 3: Missouri
Nov. 10: South Carolina


Sept. 8: @ South Carolina
Sept. 22: @ Missouri
Sept. 29: Tennessee
Oct. 6: Vanderbilt
Oct. 13: LSU
Oct. 27: vs. Florida
Nov. 3: @ Kentucky
Nov. 10: Auburn


Sept. 8: @ Florida
Sept. 22: Mississippi State
Sept. 29: South Carolina
Oct. 6: @ Texas A&M
Oct. 20: Vanderbilt
Oct. 27: @ Missouri
Nov. 3: Georgia
Nov. 10: @ Tennessee


Sept. 15: @ Auburn
Sept. 29: Ole Miss
Oct. 6: @ Florida
Oct. 13: Georgia
Oct. 20: Mississippi State
Nov. 3: Alabama
Nov. 10: @ Arkansas
Nov. 24: @ Texas A&M


Sept 15: Alabama
Sept. 29: @ LSU
Oct. 13: @ Arkansas
Oct. 20: Auburn
Nov. 3: South Carolina
Nov. 10: @ Texas A&M
Nov. 17: @ Vanderbilt
Nov. 22: Mississippi State


Sept. 22: @ Kentucky
Sept. 29: Florida
Oct. 6: Auburn
Oct. 20: @ LSU
Oct. 27: Texas A&M
Nov. 10: @ Alabama
Nov. 17: Arkansas
Nov. 22: @ Ole Miss


Sept. 22: Georgia
Oct. 6: @ South Carolina
Oct. 13: @ Alabama
Oct. 27: Kentucky
Nov. 3: @ Florida
Nov. 10: Vanderbilt
Nov. 17: @ Tennessee
Nov. 24: Arkansas


Sept. 8: Georgia
Sept. 22: @ Vanderbilt
Sept. 29: @ Kentucky
Oct. 6: Missouri
Oct. 13: Texas A&M
Oct. 27: Tennessee
Nov. 3: @ Ole Miss
Nov. 10: @ Florida


Sept. 22: Florida
Sept. 29: @ Georgia
Oct. 13: @ Auburn
Oct. 20: Alabama
Oct. 27: @ South Carolina
Nov. 10: Kentucky
Nov. 17: Missouri
Nov. 24: Vanderbilt


Sept. 22: @ Alabama
Sept. 29: vs. Arkansas
Oct. 6: Kentucky
Oct. 13: @ South Carolina
Oct. 27: @ Mississippi State
Nov. 3: @ Auburn
Nov. 10: Ole Miss
Nov. 24: LSU


Sept. 22: South Carolina
Oct 6: @ Georgia
Oct. 13: Florida
Oct. 20: Kentucky
Oct. 27: @ Arkansas
Nov. 10: @ Missouri
Nov. 17: Ole Miss
Nov. 24: Tennessee

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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Five players at D3 Wheaton College facing felony charges after hazing allegations

Five players at Wheaton College in Illinois are facing felony charges after allegedly hazing a freshman on the team in the spring of 2016.

Given the allegations, the word hazing is way too nice of a characterization to use. The player, who the Chicago Tribune didn’t name, told police he was tackled by a group of players and had his hands and feet duct-tape cuffed as he was watching the NCAA Tournament in his dorm room. This is what allegedly happened next after they put a pillowcase over his head and carried him to a car.

From the Tribune: 

At one point, the players suggested to the freshman that he had been kidnapped by Muslims who wanted to fornicate with goats, the teen told investigators. They patted his foot and suggested he would be their “goat” for the evening, the records said.

The freshman told investigators that his teammates restrained him with more duct tape during the drive, pulled down his shorts and underwear, then repeatedly tried to insert an object into his rectum. After the freshman yelled at them to stop, he was beaten, he said.

The players drove to a park located off campus and carried the freshman onto a baseball diamond, according to his account. The players threw dirt on the teen, took his cell phone and left him half-naked on the field, he said.

The alleged victim suffered shoulder injuries in the incident and has had two surgeries. He’s no longer a student at the school and told police the incident has been “devastating.”

Wheaton players James Cooksey, Kyler Kregel, Benjamin Pettway, Noah Spielman and Samuel TeBos had arrest warrants signed in their names on Monday. The five players are facing charges of aggravated battery, mob action and unlawful restraint.

Spielman is the son of former Ohio State linebacker and current Fox Sports broadcaster Chris Spielman.

The school said it was “deeply troubled” by the charges. It’s an interesting way to describe the reaction to the charges, as Wheaton said “”took swift action”  to conduct an independent investigation into the incident after finding out about it last year.

Three of the players charged played in the team’s game on Saturday.

Wheaton College aspires to provide an educational environment that is not only free of hazing, but practices our values as a Christian community. As such, we are deeply troubled by the allegations brought by law enforcement against five members of our football team. When this incident was brought to our attention by other members of the football team and coaching staff in March 2016, the College took swift action to initiate a thorough investigation. Our internal investigation into the incident, and our engagement with an independent, third-party investigator retained by the College, resulted in a range of corrective actions. We are unable to share details on these disciplinary measures due to federal student privacy protections.

The College has fully cooperated with law enforcement in their investigation. To not impede the law enforcement investigation, the College was bound by confidentiality and unable to share more information until now.

The conduct we discovered as a result of our investigation into this incident was entirely unacceptable and inconsistent with the values we share as human beings and as members of an academic community that espouses to live according to our Community Covenant. We are profoundly saddened that any member of our community could be mistreated in any way. This incident has prompted our Board of Trustees to engage outside experts to lead a campus-wide review of the level of effectiveness of our anti-hazing policy and of the culture around how students treat one another in our campus communities, athletic teams, and organizations. Wheaton remains committed to providing Christ-centered development programs and training to all our students.

Wheaton is currently 3-0 and ranked No. 4 in Division III’s rankings.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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Farmers Insurance paid over $16M to sponsor Kasey Kahne for 22 races in 2014

Farmers has sponsored Kahne since he joined Hendrick in 2012. Both company and driver are leaving after 2017. (Getty)

Monster Energy isn’t reportedly paying much more to sponsor the entire Cup Series in 2017 than what it cost Farmers Insurance to sponsor Kasey Kahne three seasons ago.

Financial details of Farmers’ sponsorship of Kahne were made public via a lawsuit filed by a consulting group over commissions from the contract. ESPN published those numbers Monday. 

The insurance company was the primary sponsor for Kahne for 22 races in 2012 for $13.5 million, in 2013 for $14.04 million and in 2014 for $16.348 million. It decreased its total to 12 races for the next three years, paying $7.6 million in 2015, $7.8 million in 2016 and $8 million in 2017.

If you want to read more about the details of the suit, click the ESPN link above.

Monster signed on as the title sponsor of the Cup Series for 2017 and 2018 in December. Sports Business Journal then reported the deal was worth approximately $20 million a season. While the existence of that report is far from new — we’ve discussed the numbers here before — the details of Kahne’s sponsorship contract puts that report in a greater context.

Shortly after the report, NASCAR CEO Brian France said the reported $20 million figure was “not accurate.” OK, so perhaps Monster is paying more like $25 million.

But even if the energy drink is paying NASCAR that much for the sponsorship, it’s staggering to step back and think that $25 million to currently sponsor the entire Cup Series would have been less than a full season sponsorship of Kahne’s car in 2014.

Farmers announced its sponsorship of Kahne in the summer of 2011. So the contract was likely signed in the spring of that season. At the time, NASCAR was dealing with sliding television ratings. That sounds familiar.

But the series still averaged nearly 6 million viewers per race in 2010, and Fox averaged nearly 8 million viewers for 11 of its 13 races at the beginning of the 2011 season. That rebound was cause for optimism — as you can see in the rising costs on the Farmers contract.

The rebound, of course, didn’t continue. Seven of the 10 playoff races in 2016 had fewer than four million viewers. That decline is likely a big reason why NASCAR reportedly took far less for the rights to the Cup Series than what previous sponsor Sprint was paying.

But it’s still crazy to think that roughly the cost of a full season sponsorship of a Hendrick Motorsports car not driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson could have netted you the rights to the entire racing series just three years later.

After cutting back its investment, Farmers is not returning to Hendrick Motorsports after the 2017 season. Kahne is leaving Hendrick at the end of the season as well and the team announced Monday that he’ll have a new crew chief for the rest of the season.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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Kasey Kahne's tenure at Hendrick will end with Darian Grubb as his crew chief

Kasey Kahne’s win at Indianapolis got him into the Cup Series playoffs. He finished 21st at Chicago on Sunday. 

Hendrick said Monday that Darian Grubb would serve as Kahne’s crew chief for the rest of the 2017 season. Keith Rodden has been Kahne’s crew chief since the beginning of the 2015 season. He’s been reassigned to a different capacity at Hendrick Motorsports.

Kahne finished Sunday’s race at Chicago in 21st. He’s 15th out of the 16 playoff drivers following the first race of the third round. Twelve drivers move on to the second round and Kahne is five points behind the cutoff line.

Grubb was Tony Stewart’s crew chief as Stewart won five of 10 playoff races in 2011 on his way to the championship in a tiebreaker over Carl Edwards. Stewart’s title was a surprise given the way his team struggled during the middle of the season. Not long after the checkered flag flew at Homestead, Grubb revealed that he wouldn’t be returning to the team at the end of the season.

Grubb, now a competition systems director at Hendrick, returned to the team in 2016 after he was a crew chief at Joe Gibbs Racing for four seasons. Before becoming Stewart’s crew chief, Grubb worked at Hendrick Motorsports and was the interim crew chief for Jimmie Johnson when Johnson won the 2006 Daytona 500.

In two seasons and 27 races, Kahne and Rodden’s only victory came in July at the Brickyard 400. The win got Kahne into the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Kahne’s 2018 plans haven’t been announced. Hendrick Motorsports is promoting William Byron from the Xfinity Series to take his place, though Byron will drive the No. 24 car as Chase Elliott’s car becomes the No. 9 in 2018.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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