After Kasey Kahne sped to the pole on Saturday, the Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway was supposed to be the race in which the newest Hendrick Motorsports driver turned around his frustrating results.
But instead of being the turning point to getting his year back on track, Sunday's NASCAR race was just the latest where Kahne was left feeling disappointed and unfilled.
After running in the top 10 for first 150 laps, everything was going to plan. But a faulty engine which later expired in a ball of smoke just past halfway put Kahne in the garage permanently, and he ended up 38th in the final rundown.
"We had a great Hendrickcars.com Chevy," Kahne said. "Really fast and the best I had ever been here. Engine was running great and we were just battling a little loose. We needed another pit stop to get that right and we could battle with Jeff (Gordon).
"It was fun driving and we had a small engine problem that turned into a big one on the backstretch and just shut off and I had oil on my tires when I hit pit road. I just didn't want to oil the whole surface for all the guys out there so I just shot to the pits and it went spinning and it wasn't a big deal because I didn't hit anything luckily."
This was the fourth time this season where Kahne has finished 29th or worse, and as a result he finds himself 31st in the standings six races into 2012. More worrisome: Kahne is just 16 points from being outside the top 35 and having to qualify his way in on speed.
It's certainly not the start to the year Kahne wanted in his first year driving for Hendrick Motorsports, but despite the numerous setbacks, he remains optimistic that better days are ahead.
"I am upset that we haven't run great this year," Kahne said. "But we are great on Friday and Saturday and we were fast again today and we have the speed, so when it's our time, we will be ready to take advantage of it. "