Kasey Kahne finds new Cup Series racing team for 2018
Kasey Kahne's job search for next season is over.
The pending 2018 NASCAR Monster Cup Series free agent and Leavine Family Racing announced Tuesday that the 18-time Cup Series winner will drive the No. 95 Chevrolet next season, replacing Michael McDowell.
“I feel like (Leavine has) really made a lot of gains in the past couple years,” Kahne told NASCAR Media of his new team. “It’s pretty cool to watch, any time you see a small team do what they’ve done in our sport.
“The opportunity will be a challenge, but also a lot of fun. I enjoy a challenge and I enjoy working with people. The best part about it is us all being a team and trying to improve every single weekend and learning from what we do one week and improving the next. I think that’s something we’ll be able to do. And I’m really excited about it.”
Leavine Family Racing was not the highest-funded racing team in the Cup Series but McDowell has been making strides this season, recording a 21.6 average finish with a career-best fourth at Daytona in July.
I am very thankful for the 4 years we had @LFR95. I am not sure what the future holds but I know Who holds it. Excited for what is next.— Michael McDowell (@Mc_Driver) September 19, 2017
Hendrick Motorsports announced in August that Kahne, who has won just two races since the start of the 2014 season, would not return next year. Kahne owns a disapointing 20.0 average finish this season but did capture a "major" win at Indianapolis in July.
“After Indy I really saw his confidence level rise,” Leavine Family Racing co-owner Bob Leavine told NASCAR Media. “That was great for him. I told him, ‘You are going to be the guy here, the star on our stage and you don’t share it with anyone.’ And the experience he brings will help our guys’ confidence.”
William Byron will take Chase Elliott's car No. 24 at Hendrick Motorsports, replacing Kahne in 2018. Elliott will keep his current team and move to the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet.