Kasey Kahne announces retirement from racing in NASCAR full-time

Kasey Kahne signs autographs for fans as he prepares to participate in qualifying for a NASCAR Cup series auto race in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, April 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Kasey Kahne has become the latest recognizable NASCAR driver to call it quits on his driving career.

Kahne said Thursday that the 2018 season would be his last driving full-time in NASCAR. He’s been driving for Leavine Family Racing this season after parting ways with Hendrick Motorsports at the end of the 2017 season. After two of his sponsors announced they were leaving at the end of 2017, Kahne was bought out by Hendrick, who replaced him with reigning Xfinity Series champion William Byron.

In his note announcing his decision, Kahne said LFR had given him an opportunity for the 2019 season. The team’s 2019 plans regarding a manufacturer have been in flux. Team owner Bob Leavine has said the current Chevy team was looking at a possible switch to Toyota. If the team moved to Toyota it would very likely be aligned with Toyota flagship team Joe Gibbs Racing.

Kahne has 18 Cup Series wins in his 15-year Cup Series career including the 2017 Brickyard 400, when he held off Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson in a crazy finish to a crazy race. His best season came in 2006 when he won six races while driving for Evernham Motorsports.

Kahne left Evernham during the 2010 season for Hendrick. But his Hendrick contract wasn’t good until 2012, so Kahne had a gap year to spend somewhere in 2011. He drove that season for Red Bull Racing and won at Phoenix. Kahne moved to Hendrick for the following year and Red Bull folded.

His first season with Hendrick Motorsports was the best of his career from a points standpoint. He finished fourth in the standings and won two races. Kahne was eighth in the points in 2006.

Things went downhill after 2012, however. Kahne has won just four races since then and made the playoffs just three times. He’s currently 28th in the standings and would need an improbable win over the next three races to make the 2018 playoffs.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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