With his back against the wall, Kasey Kahne came up big at Indianapolis, showing the skill and the will that were the reasons behind Rick Hendrick signing him to race for his organization five years ago.  Was it enough, though, to save his job? The easy answer is maybe, but there's a good chance maybe not.                   

It's hard to put your finger on what happened to Kahne. In his first two seasons with Hendrick Motorsports he won a couple of races each year and in 2012 wound up fourth in the Monster Energy Cup Series point standings. Then, the good finishes pouring in became a trickle and if it weren't for bad luck he wouldn't have had any luck at all.

Kahne won at Atlanta for the third time in August 2014 and from there the struggles really began.

That's why, despite the fact he had a contract good through next season, there was speculation right from the jump at Daytona this could be a make it or break year for Kahne's employment with NASCAR's most successful organization. He started with a pair of top-10s, but the wheels slowly started to come off and the fortunes of the 5 car, literally, began to crash and burn. Kahne had wrecked out in five of the eight races leading up to the Brickyard, adding fuel to the fire he was going to be replaced.

Desperate doesn't even begin to describe how badly Kahne needed to get back to victory lane going into Indy.  A possible heir apparent William Byron had won the day before, it had been 102 starts since his 17th career Cup win and, too far down in the point standings, making the playoff was a pipe dream unless he won.  As it turns out, he and everyone else in the field were doomed until Martin Truex, Jr. and Kyle Busch took each other out.  It was the first of a number of lucky breaks Kahne would finally catch and he capitalized on them with some gutsy driving in the closing laps to capture the checkered flag.

Hendrick arrived at the media center for the post-race interview before Kahne did and the future of the 37-year-old driver was what everyone was wondering about. "Our plans are not set for the 5 car," the longtime team owner said. "There's nothing concrete or done and that hasn't changed. We'll see how things shake out the rest of year."                                  

"There's a lot of things involved, sponsors and a lot of things we look at. We're going to try hard, but there's no decision made at this time."

Shortly thereafter Kahne walked in and quickly got hit with the same line of questioning. "I have a deal with Hendrick Motorsports through 2018," he explained. "You hear a lot of things, but tough to say exactly what's going to happen because I don't know at this point. I know me and "Mr. H" will figure it out."

Kahne's Indy win might have come just in the nick of time, providing HMS with more confidence he can still be an elite driver and allow find the replacement sponsors the team needs, giving him at least one more season.  Then again, even if Hendrick wants to keep him in that seat, it might have come a little too late in the game for one of the most likeable drivers in the garage.

Whichever way it goes, Kahne will race with his foot to the floor the rest of the year. "I still have the drive and passion to do it and I enjoy it. So I'm going to keep trying hard, I know that."

Maybe that will be enough, but maybe not.