Kasey Kahne, who burst onto the scene at the height of NASCAR’s popularity as one of several drivers expected to carry the sport in the new century, announced his retirement from full-time NASCAR racing on Thursday.
Kahne, 38, broke the news in a statement on Twitter.
Kahne, who has spent this season competing for Leavine Family Racing in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, wrote that “racing in (C)up full time for a few more years was just something that I couldn’t commit to. I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but I know I’m at ease with the decision I have made.”
Citing the toll the “grueling schedule” has taken, Kahne said he plans to spend more time with his son, Tanner, and with his sprint car teams.
Kahne was once one of NASCAR’s rising stars and has had a successful career overall, earning 18 Cup wins over 15 seasons. But he never quite lived up to the hype after winning Rookie of the Year in 2004 in the No. 9 Dodge, at that time one of the most popular rides in the sport, having previously been driven by Bill Elliott. His last win came in 2017 with Hendrick Motorsports in the summer race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Kahne is the latest in a string of older stars who have stepped away from NASCAR in recent years. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart’s high-profile retirements were part of a wave of departures that included Carl Edwards, Danica Patrick and Matt Kenseth, although Kenseth returned to racing this season with Roush Fenway Racing.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images