Kasey Kahne’s win at the Brickyard 400, breaking a long winless streak was not enough to continue Kahne’s career in the No. 5 Chevrolet SS of Hendrick Motorsports. The two will part ways after the 2017 season.
In a press release issued this morning, Hendrick Motorsports confirmed that they had released Kahne from the final year of his contract, allowing him to immediately pursue opportunities elsewhere for 2018.
“Kasey has worked extremely hard,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports.
“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.”
Kahne, 37, will complete the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series schedule for Hendrick Motorsports. He was signed by the organization in April 2010, nearly two years before his February 2012 debut in its No. 5 Chevrolet. Now in their sixth season together, Kahne has earned six of his 18 career points-paying Cup victories with the No. 5 team.
“I’d like to thank Rick 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,” said Kahne
“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.”
Hendrick Motorsports will announce 2018 plans for its four-car operation at a later date.
Regardless, 2018 will look quite different for Hendrick Motorsports, with the only veteran of its last few years being Jimmie Johnson in the No. 48. Jeff Gordon retired after the 2016 season’s conclusion, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. will retire after this season. His ride replacement has already been announced, but it’s not clear whether sponsorship and driver will be in place for the No. 5. It’s possible the Hendrick Motorsports team will reduce to three teams.
Though the fact that Hendrick’s announcement ended with “its four-car operation at a later date,” makes it sound like four cars are in for 2018 — possibly with a younger driver will smaller salary requirements to offset smaller sponsorship dollars.
Source: Hendrick Motorsports – Hendrick Motorsports and Kasey Kahne to end six-year run
Wishing @kaseykahne all the best, he's been an amazing teammate and friend.
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) August 7, 2017