Kasey Kahne will end his tenure with Hendrick Motorsports at season’s end by making his first appearance in the NASCAR Cup playoffs since 2014, when the 10-race playoff was expanded to a 16-driver field.
Kahne comes into the playoffs ranked 13th. He earned an automatic playoff berth when he won the Brickyard 400, his first Cup win since the 2014 season.
Kahne finished 12th in Saturday’s race, his second-best showing since the Brickyard 400.
“I’ve been here (with Hendrick Motorsports) five or six years,” Kahne said in a post-race interview with NBCSN. “So to finish as high as I possibly can, with these guys.
“Doing it all together, putting in the best effort we can each week, when it’s all said and done, we’ll be happy about our effort and finish out what’s next.”
Stenhouse, meanwhile, qualified for his first playoffs in his fifth full-time season in NASCAR Cup.
Stenhouse has had his long-awaited breakthrough season in 2017, winning the first two races of his Cup career — the spring race at Talladega and the summer race at Daytona.
Even though he finished 19th in Saturday’s race, Stenhouse enters the playoffs in eighth position, 43 points behind top-ranked Martin Truex Jr.
“It’s cool to be in our first playoffs and can’t wait to see if we can’t advance a few rounds and put a 10-race stretch together,” Stenhouse told NBCSN. “We have to find a little bit more speed in our cars.
“We’ve been searching for that all summer long. I like the tracks coming up and have had success there. Looking forward to our first playoffs and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Martins Motorsports announced Tuesday that it has renewed a partnership with Gilreath Farms Red Angus for the 2020 Xfinity Series.
Gilreath Farms and AAN Adjusters, which also is owned by Ken Gilreath, will be the primary sponsor of the No. 44 Xfinity car for 25 races this season. Gilreath Farms sponsored Martins for a race at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2018 when Martins drove for BJ McLeod Motorsports.
“Having Gilreath Farms Red Angus on the car again is special,” Martins said in a statement. “This is really where my partnership with Ken started in 2018, so to see his commitment to us this year…I mean I’ve said it before, it completely changes our entire outlook for this season. It’s really special.”
The first race for the Red Angus Chevrolet will be at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Multiple reports state that Daniel Suarez will drive the No. 96 Cup car for Gaunt Brothers Racing in 2020.
The team has not made any an announcement.
Toby Christie reported Friday at tobychristie.com that a deal was done for Suarez to drive the full Cup season for Gaunt Brothers Racing. Motorsport.com reported Monday that Suarez would join Gaunt Brothers Racing for the full season.
Suarez would replace Parker Kligerman, who confirmed to NBC Sports on Friday that he would not return to the No. 96 car this season.
This would be the fourth Cup season for Suarez. He drove for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017-18 before being replaced by Martin Truex Jr. Suarez moved to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2019 and was replaced after the season by rookie Cole Custer.
Suarez continues to seek his first Cup win. He has eight top-five and 32 top-10 finishes in 108 Cup starts. He won the 2016 Xfinity title, a year after winning rookie of the year honors in that series.
Gaunt Brothers Racing debuted in 2017, running one race with D.J. Kennington. The team ran 22 races the following year between Kligerman, D.J. Kennington, Jeffrey Earnhardt and Jesse Little. The team ran 15 races last year with Drew Herring running once along with Kligerman’s 14 starts.