Kasey Kahne is entering his first season with Leavine Family Racing after spending the last six years at Hendrick Motorsports, and the 37-year-old is enjoying his freedom with his new team.
Competing with Hendrick Motorsports has its advantages, but Kahne is relishing his role and freedom with Leavine Family Racing. He told Motorsport he isn’t necessarily used to the freedom of racing for a smaller team, and he’s even getting back to his roots by racing in sprint cars.
“It will be nice to go and do stuff and not feel like you’re doing something wrong,” Kahne said. “It’s a completely new season, new year, new feel. I think it will be nice when I get back in the Cup car, when I get back in a sprint car, whatever it might be. I’ll just be happy, enjoying that time. Working hard to win.”
Kahne is racing in the upcoming Chili Bowl, and he plans to race in sprint car races throughout the year — as long as they don’t interfere with his races for LHR in the No. 95 car.
“I will find the right weekends and weekdays that I can go race so it’s not effecting what I do in the 95, but showing how much I love to race,” Kahne said. “Definitely want to keep the No. 95 as my priority.”
He said he’s ready to compete again after taking the last couple of months off, and he’s taken the time to get used to his new team. He’s coming off of a playoff season in 2017, and the pressure will be on him to deliver a competitive season for LHR in 2018.
Kahne wasn’t the headliner at Hendrick Motorsports, so he’ll have a new role as the main and only guy with Leavine Family Racing. LHR has never been in the playoffs, so Kahne will be looking for back-to-back playoff appearances with different teams. He’ll also get to enjoy racing outside of NASCAR in sprint car races, so 2018 could be a big year for Kahne.