Kasey Kahne will stop competing full-time in NASCAR by the end of the year, refusing an offer to continue running in the Cup with Leavine Racing in 2019.
Kahne came to Leavine after a disappointing stint at Hendrick Motorsports, where he won only six races in his six years with the team.
His most recent Cup win came in Indianapolis in 2017, ending 31 months of drought, and Kahne said he was “happy” to leave Hendrick a year before his contract ends.
Kahne has struggled this year with Leavine, a team that competes with support from Richard Childress Racing, and had a change of team leader before the Sonoma race in June. His best result so far this season came fourth at Daytona in July.
“I’ve thought about this decision for many months and even longer,” Kahne said on her Twitter account. “It’s time for me to stop racing full time in NASCAR.”
“I appreciate everything that LFR has done for me this season and for offering me the opportunity to run in 2019. However, running in the Cup full time for a few more years is something I could not commit myself to.”
Kahne added that he was satisfied with his decision, although he has not yet defined what his future will be after leaving NASCAR.
“I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but I know I’m comfortable with the decision I made, good things did not outweigh the bad and the exhausting schedule is a great cost for your quality of life.”
“I need to spend time doing the things I enjoy and love and that is spending time with (his son) Tanner and my sprint car teams.”
“I had a great career in motor sport and I met many incredible people and fans on the road and with some I will keep in touch the rest of my life.”
“We still have work to do this year in car # 95 and I’m looking forward to finishing the season with this team.”
The best season of Kahne in NASCAR was in 2012 when he recovered from a bad start in his debut year with Hendrick to finish fourth in the championship, achieving seven consecutive finishes in the top 10.
He came to NASCAR’s top division in 2004 with Evernham Motorsports after replacing Bill Elliott and came close to winning several times in his debut year, being the rookie of the season.
Kahne stayed with the team when he merged with Richard Petty Motorsports and was released from his contract at the end of 2010, joining Red Bull Racing the following year prior to his move to Hendrick in 2012.