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Kahne Lands At Levine’s Family Home

| , RacinToday.com Wednesday, September 20 2017

Kasey Kahne won’t be driving with any multi-time Cup champions next year. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Alan Marler)

Kasey Kahne became the first veteran NASCAR free-agent driver to land a fulltime ride for next season Tuesday, when Leavine Family Racing confirmed he will pilot the No. 95 Chevrolet Camaro for the full 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) schedule.

Kahne, who has driven for Hendrick Motorsports since 2012, will replace Michael McDowell on the single-car team founded by Bob and Sharon Leavine in 2011.

“I want to thank Leavine Family Racing for this opportunity and will work as hard as possible to help them continue improving,” Kahne said in a statement from the team’s headquarters in Concord, N.C. “I am ready for this challenge and look forward to making a fresh start. Bob and everyone at Leavine Family Racing put a lot into their program and I’m excited to become a part of it.” Kahne officially will be introduced during a teleconference on Wednesday afternoon.

Kahne is one of 16 drivers to qualify for NASCAR’s 10-race postseason. Kahne, who won the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in July, finished 21st in the No. 5 Chevrolet SS during Sunday’s Tales of the Turtles 400 playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. The race was won by Martin Truex Jr. in the No. 78 Toyota Camry fielded by Furniture Row Racing.

McDowell, a nine-year NASCAR veteran and winner of the Road America 180 in the Xfinity Series, finished 30th at Chicagoland in the No. 95 Chevy SS.

“We look at this as an opportunity to go to the next level,” said Bob Leavine, whose team has a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing. “This deals partially with performance, because obviously, Kasey is a playoff-caliber driver. He has a wealth of information being with a larger organization like Hendrick Motorsports and we think that will help us. We also look at this as an opportunity for marketing to be able to sell sponsorship.

“Overall, we think Kasey is a good fit and felt we needed a change. There is absolutely nothing that Michael (McDowell) did (wrong); it was just a matter of us having to make some changes to help us move up the ladder and be a factor in the playoffs. I know Kasey will bring things that will help us, and I believe our environment will be conducive to his confidence level, which will in turn raise our confidence level. It just seemed like the right time and the right fit for our team.” For more team information, visit www.LFR95.com.

Kahne’s nearly six-year tenure at Hendrick Motorsports was put on end-of-season notice on Aug. 7. Two days later, team-owner Rick Hendrick introduced NASCAR Xfinity Series wunderkind William Byron as the next driver of the No. 5 Chevrolet, intent on restoring the car/number popularized by two-time Cup champion “Texas” Terry Labonte to title-contending status. Kahne, 37, has won six of his total of 18 Cup races to-date with HMS.

| , RacinToday.com Wednesday, September 20 2017
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