Kasey Kahne’s win in the Brickyard 400 wasn’t enough to save his job.
After a six-year relationship, Kahne and Hendrick Motorsports will part ways following the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the team announced Monday. Hendrick has released Kahne from the last year of his contract, which ran through 2018, so the 37-year-old now is free to look for a drive elsewhere.
“I’d like to thank Rick (Hendrick) 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,” Kahne said in a statement.
The announcement comes just two weeks after Kahne took victory in the Brickyard 400, a win he hoped would secure his seat for next season. His release isn’t that surprising, however, as even after the win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, team owner Rick Hendrick still said Kahne’s status was uncertain beyond 2017.
Based on the statement Hendrick issued Monday, though, it sounds like he was in a similar situation to fellow NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs. Gibbs has noted that, although his team is letting Matt Kenseth go after the season, he wished it didn’t have to.
“Kasey has worked extremely hard,” Rick Hendrick said. “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.”
Thumbnail photo via Matthew O’Haren/USA TODAY Sports Images
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