Kasey Kahne will be racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series for Hendrick Motorsports for the next three years. Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday morning that the 34-year-old Kahne has agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep the driver with the No. 5 Chevrolet SS team through the end of the 2018 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Kahne’s contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire following the 2015 NASCAR season.
“It’s extremely gratifying to work with a driver like Kasey,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “I think the world of him both as a driver with championship-level talent and an overall terrific young man. Our whole organization has a great deal of respect for how hard he works, the professionalism he displays with our partners and the way he carries himself every day. We’re committed to winning races and competing for titles with him for many years to come.”
Kahne, 34, originally signed with Hendrick Motorsports in April 2010 and officially joined the team’s four-car stable for the 2012 season. Over the past three years (2012-14), he ranks among the top-10 drivers in Sprint Cup wins (5), pole positions (4), top-five finishes (26) and laps led (1,177). The Enumclaw, Washington, native has 17 career wins in NASCAR’s top division. The news comes a day after Hendrick announced a crew chief change for Kahne.
Wednesday the team named Keith Rodden as crew chief of the No. 5 team and Kahne. Former Kahne crew chief Kenny Francis has been moved to the new position of vehicle technical director. Francis has been crew chief for Kahne since the final race of 2005, earning 16 race wins and five Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths. The pair worked together at several Sprint cup teams before both joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2012
Rodden, 33, has enjoyed a long relationship with Kahne, having worked with the driver as a team engineer from 2004 until 2013. After graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in mechanical engineering, his motor sports career began in 2003 with owner Andy Petree. Rodden in 2004 joined Evernham Motorsports to support Kahne’s NASCAR XFINITY Series effort before moving in 2006 to the No. 9 Sprint Cup team, which began an eight-year stint under the tutelage of Francis. The pairing announced Wednesday and Thursday’s contract extension finalizes the driver’s plans for next season and beyond.
“I’ve found a home at Hendrick Motorsports,” said Kahne. “We have incredible people and partners supporting us, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction we’re headed as a team and a company. It’s the right place for me, and I’m looking forward to being here for a long time.”