Hendrick Motorsports announced Monday that it will not retain driver Kasey Kahne to compete in the team’s No. 5 Chevrolet for the 2018 season. A future driver for the car was not revealed, but the team said it would announce its four-car lineup at a later date.
Kahne, 37, won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis in July and has 18 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Series wins in 14 seasons. He was the 2004 Rookie of the Year.
“I’d like to thank Rick (Hendrick) and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for their hard work and dedication, along with providing me a great opportunity and success over the last six years,” Kahne said in a team release. “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. 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 started his Monster Energy Series career with Ray Evernham’s Dodge team in 2004, winning a season-best six races in 2006. He also drove for Richard Petty Motorsports and the Red Bull Racing teams before landing at Hendrick in 2012, where he has earned six victories.
In his first year with the championship organization Kahne won two races and tied a career-best mark of 19 top-10 finishes. He also finished a career-high fourth place in the standings that season.
“Kasey has worked extremely hard,” Hendrick said. “He’s a tremendous teammate and person, and he has been totally dedicated to our program since day one. 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.”
Hendrick will have a decidedly youthful look next season. The team already announced that 24-year-old Alex Bowman will replace retiring veteran Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the No. 88 car. And 21-year old Chase Elliott is in his second Cup season driving the No. 24 Chevrolet formerly steered by retired four-time champion Jeff Gordon.
At 41, seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson remains the elder statesman on the team.
There is no word where Kahne may work next season. He joins a list of highly respected veterans without firm 2018 plans, including former Cup champions Matt Kenseth, and 2004 champion Kurt Busch,
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