Tha Sports Junkies 101

Kasey Kahne to Leave Hendrick Motorsports after 2017



On Monday, Hendrick Motorsports announced that Kasey Kahne will not be driving the 5 car in 2018. Amid silly season rumors, HMS will terminate its contract with Kahne a year early. This news comes 3 weeks after Kahne’s upset win in the Brickyard 400. 

Kasey Kahne has been behind the wheel of the Hendrick 5 car since 2012. In this time he has won 6 of his 18 career races. His contract with the team was announced in April 2010, as he was replacing Mark Martin. In his first season with HMS, Kahne won in the Coca Cola 600 at Charlotte, and at New Hampshire. He would finish the 2012 season at a career high 4th in points. For 2013, Kahne won races at Bristol in the spring and Pocono in the summer. 6-second place finishes throughout the year resulted in 12th place for the championship.

2014 was a dismal year for Kahne, foreshadowing the years to come for his team. A win at Atlanta assured a spot in the Playoffs for him, but he finished the year 15th in points. The past 2 seasons, Kahne went winless and finished 18th and 17th in points.

2017 was another up and down year for Kasey, until his Brickyard win. This win broke a 102 race drought, and some thought it saved his career at HMS. The writing was on the wall prior to this win though, as Great Clips announced it would leave the 5 car.

Kasey’s replacement at Hendrick is currently unknown. However, Hendrick did guarantee that they will run 4 cars full time for the 2018 season. Prime candidates for the 5 include young gun William Byron, and veteran Matt Kenseth.

Team Hendrick will have a very different look for 2018, with 2 new drivers. Along with the 5 car, they will have the 24 (Chase Elliott), the 48 (Jimmie Johnson), and the 88 (Alex Bowman). The juggernaut team will certainly be an interesting mix of youth and experience, with at least 2 drivers under the age of 25.

As of yet, Kasey Kahne has no ride for the 2018 NASCAR season. Along with Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth, these 3 veteran drivers are looking for open seats in the Cup Series. Kurt won the Daytona 500 this year, Matt is on the Playoff bubble, and Kasey won at Indy.

In closing, another high-level seat is open for NASCAR silly season 2018. It is without a doubt that the sport of stock car racing is undergoing a major transition. Veteran drivers are slowly being shifted out, opening doors for a newer, younger generation of drivers.