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Kasey Kahne Will Walk Back Into Sprinting

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 17 2018

Kasey Kahne will return to sprint cars after leaving NASCAR full-time.(RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

BRISTOL, Tenn. – Kasey Kahne said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway that  he could no longer give 100 percent to a full-time NASCAR schedule and it wasn’t fair for him to continue, but he might run 40 to 50 Sprint Car races in 2019.

“You can do 40 or 50 (Sprint Car) races in about three months in that deal and still have eight or nine months to do other things,” said Kahne, who admitted he would be open to driving an occasional NASCAR race. “I think we can have fun in Sprint Car racing, for sure; and then, also, have some business opportunities down the road.”

Kahne, 38, announced Thursday via Twitter that after the 2018 season he would no longer compete fulltime in NASCAR.

When I was young my dad was all about if you do something, you do it 100 percent,” Kahne said. “I didn’t feel that I could seriously race all of next year and be completely committed 100 percent. I feel like there are guys out there that can be and that should have those opportunities over me at this point in time because I don’t feel like I can be that guy from this point on.”

Kahne made his NASCAR debut in 2002 in the Xfinity Series and two years later in the Cup Series. Since then he has competed in 527 Cup races and 215 Xfinity Series events. In 15 years in the Cup Series, Kahne has earned 18 victories, 27 poles, 93 top-five and 176-top 10 finishes, and led 4,678 laps. He also won the All-Star race in 2008 and a Gatorade Duel 150 qualifying race at Daytona in 2010. His best finish in the point standings came in 2012 when he placed fourth.

In 16 years in the Xfinity Series, Kahne ran a limited schedule every year except 2003 when he finished seventh in the driver standings. He won eight of those races, earned nine poles, posted 46 top-five and 87-top 10 finishes, and led 1,378 laps.

The Enumclaw, Wash., native had one year left on his Hendrick Motorsports contract when he moved to Leavine Family Racing for 2018. He confirmed Friday that even if he hadn’t driven for the operation he still would have received the salary outlined in the contract. Kahne noted he had some “neat opportunities” with LFR.

There was money there, there were a few other offers that I had received over the last month and just options that we could talk about … but at the same time it wasn’t necessarily about that anymore,” Kahne said. “I still love my Sprint Cars and want to be close to that and keep that going.  We want to grow that and keep it as strong as it can be because I’ve been part of short-track racing, basically since I left it to come to NASCAR.  I think there are some really good opportunities out there that I can do and still be close to racing, but just not into it totally 100 percent all the time like I have been the last 25 years.” 

Kahne started his Sprint Car team in 2005. Brad Sweet’s victory a week ago in the prestigious 5-hour Energy Knoxville Nationals was the first in the event for Kahne’s team. However, Kahne’s thoughts about stepping away from a full-time NASCAR ride began before last weekend. It was on his mind his last two years at Hendrick in addition to this season.

“I haven’t been as competitive as what I want to be,” Kahne said. “I finally just decided that it is time to do something different.” 

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 17 2018
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