By: Toby Christie – Follow on Twitter @toby_christie
After six years of driving the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne will have to search for a new ride in 2018, the race team announced in a press release.
"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, is locked into the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs by virtue of winning the Brickyard 400 a few races ago, and he was under contract with the race team for 2018. However, in recent months all of Kahne's sponsors began to announce that they weren't returning for next season. HMS, as a result, terminated Kahne's contract a year early.
In all, the Enumclaw, Washington native has racked up six victories with the organization since moving there in 2012. Kahne is an 18-time winner in the Cup Series, and now he becomes the latest big name driver in the 2018 NASCAR free agent pool.
“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, who most recently won July 23 at Indianapolis. “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.”
The team release stated that plans for Hendrick Motorsports' four-car team in 2018 will be announced at a later date.
Photo: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images