Kasey Kahne out at HMS in 2018

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By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Kasey Kahne and Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) will go their separate ways at year’s end.

HMS announced on Monday morning that Kahne has been released from the final year of his contract with HMS. The Enumclaw, Washington native can begin searching for a 2018 ride immediately.

“Kasey has worked extremely hard,” HMS owner Rick Hendrick said in a release. “He’s a tremendous teammate and person, and he has been totally dedicated to our program since day one. I’ve always believed that he’s a special talent, and I know he will thrive in the right situation. We will do everything we can to finish the season as strong as we can.”

Kahne, 37, has competed for HMS for the past six seasons, tallying six victories including this year’s Brickyard 400, which all-but guarantees the 14-year Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran a spot in the playoffs beginning at Chicagoland Speedway next month.

When he replaced Mark Martin in the No. 5 Chevrolet in 2012, Kahne arrived with immediate success – tallying two wins and a fourth-place finish in points in his best Cup Series season to date. Kahne couldn’t match his prior level of consistency in 2013, but he did tally two more victories en-route to a 12th-place performance.

However in recent years, Kahne has struggled. He made the playoffs with a late victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in 2014, but followed that result with a winless streak that stretched to nearly three full years before his Indianapolis Motor Speedway triumph last month. Kahne had missed the postseason in each of the past two years, though he did manage to stay in the top 20 in points each season.

“I’d like to thank Rick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for their hard work and dedication, along with providing me a great opportunity and success over the last six years,” Kahne said. “We won six races together and I’m coming off of one of the biggest wins of my career at the Brickyard, which has given the (No.) 5 team a lot of momentum heading into the playoffs. We still have a lot of racing left in 2017 and finishing strong is our top priority. I look forward to what the next chapter in my career holds.”

The future driver HMS’ fourth machine wasn’t revealed in the announcement, though the organization did note that it “will announce 2018 plans for its four-car operation at a later date.”

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