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Kasey Kahne looks ahead to new team, more racing in 2018

2017 NASCAR Playoffs Production & Media Day

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 13: Kasey Kahne speaks to the media as one of the 16 drivers eligible to win the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Championship during the 2017 NASCAR Playoffs Production & Media Day at NASCAR Hall of Fame on September 13, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Getty Images for NASCAR

A new season will mean a new ride for Kasey Kahne and he’s ready to get going.

Kahne, who had spent the past six seasons at Hendrick Motorsports, moves to Leavine Family Racing for the 2018 season. The 18-time Cup winner will pair with new crew chief Travis Mack, who also moves over from Hendrick Motorsports where he was the car chief on Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s team.

WATCH: NBCSN to air special NASCAR America at 7 p.m. ET Thursday, followed by Cup Series Awards Show at 9 p.m. ET. (Watch Cup Awards Show online here)
“The whole deal is going to be new and different, all new people, Travis being one of them,’’ Kahne said this week in Las Vegas. “I don’t know Travis that well. We’re starting to get to know each other better now that we’re working together. He seems very motivated, excited for the role and so am I. I think it’s going to be a fun relationship.’’

Kahne, who won this past season’s Brickyard 400 and finished 15th in the points after making the playoffs, moves to a single-car team. He replaces Michael McDowell, who finished 26th in the points. McDowell’s best finish for the team was fourth at Daytona in July. It was his only top-10 finish. He had 15 top-20 finishes this past year.

Kahne said he spent a day on the shop last week with his new team and says “we’re heading in a good direction.’’

Another change for Kahne is that he plans to do more racing outside NASCAR. He said he plans to be at the Chili Bowl next month and may run at Volusia Speedway Park in Florida before the Feb. 18 Daytona 500.

“I plan on doing a lot of racing next year, working on that,’’ he said.

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