Kasey Kahne out at Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports at the end of the cur­rent sea­son.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - SPORTS -

CON­CORD, N.C. — Kasey Kahne is out at Hen­drick Mo­tor­sports at the end of the sea­son.

The Brick­yard 400 win­ner was re­leased from the fi­nal year of his con­tract, al­low­ing him to pur­sue an­other Cup ride for 2018. Team owner

Rick Hen­drick did not im­me­di­ately name a re­place­ment for the No. 5 Chevro­let.

Hen­drick has seven-time cham­pion Jim­mie John­son, Chase El­liott and Alex Bow­man in the fold for next sea­son. The or­ga­ni­za­tion could turn to 19-year-old Xfin­ity Se­ries driver William By­ron to fill the seat. Former Cup cham­pi­ons Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch also don’t have con­tracts for next sea­son.

Kahne, 37, will fin­ish the sea­son driv­ing the No. 5 Chevro­let for Hen­drick. He has six vic­to­ries in six sea­sons with Hen­drick, in­clud­ing one at Indianapolis last month that qual­i­fied him for the play­offs.

“We won six races to­gether and I’m com­ing off of one of the big­gest wins of my ca­reer at the Brick­yard, which has given the [No.] 5 team a lot of mo­men­tum head­ing into the play­offs,” Kahne said. “We still have a lot of rac­ing left in 2017 and fin­ish­ing strong is our top pri­or­ity.”

Kahne’s fate had been in limbo for most of the sea­son be­cause of years of medi­ocre fin­ishes and spon­sor­ship woes. Farm­ers In­sur­ance bailed on Kahne, and Great Clips also cut ties with the driver. Great Clips had been signed as the pri­mary spon­sor for 10 races an­nu­ally through the 2018 sea­son, but that deal ended early — and so did Kahne’s run with Hen­drick.

Kahne won as many as six races in 2006 driv­ing for Ray Evern­ham and fin­ished as high as fourth in the stand­ings in 2012 driv­ing for Hen­drick. He won two races in 2013, won Aug. 31, 2014, at At­lanta Mo­tor Speed­way for ca­reer vic­tory No. 17, and then went on a 102-race win­less streak.

He opened this sea­son with a seventh- place fin­ish in the Day­tona 500 and was fourth in At­lanta, and seemed to show he might have re­turned to form. But he crashed out of five races and failed to fin­ish bet­ter than 15th in the nine races lead­ing into Indianapolis.


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