Kasey Kahne to join Leavine Family Racing in 2018

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Brickyard 400 winner Kasey Kahne will drive for Leavine Family Racing next season, the team announced Tuesday.

The move will keep Kahne in the Cup series for a 14th consecutive season.

“I want to thank Leavine Family Racing for this opportunity and will work as hard as possible to help them continue improving,” said Kahne in a statement from the team. “I am ready for this challenge and look forward to making a fresh start. Bob and everyone at Leavine Family Racing put a lot into their program and I’m excited to become a part of it.”

The 37-year-old Kahne, scheduled to make his 500th career Cup start next month at Kansas Speedway, joins a single-car team seeking its first Cup win.

Kahne has 18 career victories and 173 top 10s. He debuted in Cup in 2004 with car owner Ray Evernham. Kahne also has raced for Richard Petty Motorsports, Red Bull Racing and Hendrick Motorsports — his home since the 2012 season. Kahne won six of his 18 wins with Hendrick.

Kahne goes to a young team that is growing in the sport.

Leavine Family Racing debuted in 2011 but didn’t run a full schedule until last season, split between Michael McDowell (31 races) and Ty Dillon (seven races).

The team had nine top-20 finishes last year. It has recorded 13 top-20 finishes this season, including its first top-five finish — fourth place by McDowell at Daytona in July.

McDowell had been with the team since 2014.

“We look at this as an opportunity to go to the next level,” said LFR team owner, Bob Leavine in a statement. “This deals partially with performance, because obviously, Kasey is a playoff-caliber driver. He has a wealth of information being with a larger organization like Hendrick Motorsports, and we think that will help us. We also look at this as an opportunity for marketing to be able to sell sponsorship.

“Overall, we think Kasey is a good fit and felt we needed a change. There is absolutely nothing that Michael (McDowell) did, it was just a matter of us having to make some changes to help us move up the ladder and be a factor in the playoffs. I know Kasey will bring things that will help us, and I believe our environment will be conducive to his confidence level, which will in turn raise our confidence level. It just seemed like the right time and the right fit for our team.”

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