clear
Wednesday August 23rd, 2017 4:11AM

Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne to split after 6 years

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — 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.

The 37-year-old Kahne 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.

"He's a tremendous teammate and person, and he has been totally dedicated to our program since day one," Hendrick said in a statement Monday. "I've always believed that he's a special talent, and I know he will thrive in the right situation. We will do everything we can to finish the season as strong as we can."

Kahne's win at Indianapolis wasn't enough to save his job.

"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. I look forward to what the next chapter in my career holds."

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 on 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.

There are few quality options left for Kahne in 2018. Richard Childress Racing saw Paul Menard leave for Wood Brothers Racing, and there's no guarantee RCR's third entry will be filled in 2018. Stewart-Haas Racing declined to pick up Busch's contract option, though both sides are hopeful a new deal can be reached. Danica Patrick could also be out at SHR because of lack of sponsorship. Kenseth, the 2003 champion, is on the market because Joe Gibbs Racing replaced him in '18 with Erik Jones.

Kenseth could make sense as a short-term solution if Hendrick wants to give Byron more time in the developmental series.

___

More AP auto racing: www.racing.ap.org

  • Associated Categories: Sports, NASCAR News, Monster Cup, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Auto Racing, NASCAR
  • Associated Tags: nascar, motorsports, Auto Racing, Stock Car, Asphalt, Motorsports Live On WDUN, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne to split after 6 years
Hendrick Motorsports and driver Kasey Kahne have agreed to part ways after six years
11:21AM ( 15 minutes ago )
Don Baylor, former MVP and manager of year, dead at 68
Don Baylor, the 1979 AL MVP with the California Angels who went on to become manager of the year with the Colorado Rockies in 1995, has died
11:15AM ( 21 minutes ago )
Missouri officer killed during traffic stop, man sought
The Missouri State Highway Patrol says authorities are searching for a 39-year-old suspect in the fatal shooting of a western Missouri police officer during a traffic stop
11:04AM ( 32 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
PREMIER LEAGUE 2017-18: 5 teams to watch out for this season
Manchester clubs invest heavily in the transfer market during the offseason as they seek to overthrow last season's champion Chelsea
10:08AM ( 1 hour ago )
PREMIER LEAGUE 2017-18: 5 key players signed in offseason
The Premier League season starts this weekend and there are some new faces to get to know
10:05AM ( 1 hour ago )
Brock On: Osweiler to start Browns' exhibition opener
Browns coach Hue Jackson has picked veteran Brock Osweiler to start Cleveland's exhibition opener on Thursday against New Orleans
9:51AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Truex wins fuel-mileage gamble at The Glen
Martin Truex Jr. won a fuel mileage gamble at Watkins Glen International and held off Matt Kenseth on the final lap to capture the NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen International
8:02PM ( 15 hours ago )
Kyle Busch wins pole for Cup race at Watkins Glen
Kyle Busch has won the pole for the NASCAR Cup race at Watkins Glen International
1:16PM ( 22 hours ago )
Kyle Busch wins Xfinity Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen
Kyle Busch wins Xfinity race at Watkins Glen, recovering from spinout and pit road penalty
6:29PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Auto Racing
Team Penske brings Blaney back in 2018 from Wood Brothers
Ryan Blaney will make the move to Team Penske and drive a third entry for the team in 2018
3:18PM ( 1 week ago )
Earnhardt defends crew chief Ives in shaky final season
Dale Earnhardt Jr. defends crew chief Ives in shaky final season
6:36PM ( 1 week ago )
Penske inks NASCAR's Brad Keselowski to multiyear extension
Team Penske has reached an agreement with 2012 NASCAR Cup champion Brad Keselowski on a multiyear extension
6:25PM ( 1 week ago )
NASCAR
Don Baylor, former MVP and manager of year, dead at 68
Don Baylor, the 1979 AL MVP with the California Angels who went on to become manager of the year with the Colorado Rockies in 1995, has died
11:15AM ( 22 minutes ago )
Missouri officer killed during traffic stop, man sought
The Missouri State Highway Patrol says authorities are searching for a 39-year-old suspect in the fatal shooting of a western Missouri police officer during a traffic stop
11:04AM ( 33 minutes ago )
Netflix makes 1st acquisition: comic book maker Millarworld
Netflix says it made its first acquisition Monday, buying the comic book publisher Millarworld
10:59AM ( 38 minutes ago )
AP Explains: Why Kenyans are nervous about presidential vote
AP Explains: Why Kenyans are nervous about narrowly contested presidential election
10:50AM ( 47 minutes ago )
Back home, Speaker Ryan can't escape questions about GOP
House Speaker Paul Ryan is facing frustrated Republicans back home in Wisconsin as he strikes a higher public profile touring flood-damaged areas, appearing on conservative talk radio and taking questions from workers at business town halls
10:45AM ( 51 minutes ago )