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Kickin The Tires

LFR implements off-weekend crew chief swap for Kahne

Photo: NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

When Kasey Kahne and Leavine Family Racing (LFR) return to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage at Sonoma Raceway, they’ll do so with a different signal caller atop the box.

LFR announced Saturday that Jon Leonard will serve as interim crew chief for Kahne and the No. 95 Chevrolet beginning at Sonoma. The former lead engineer will take over the role as a replacement for Travis Mack, who made the move from Hendrick Motorsports to LFR to become a full-time crew chief for the first time with Kahne in 2018.

Leonard has brief experience from atop the box, having served as LFR’s interim crew chief for the final five races of the 2017 Cup season. Michael McDowell had an average finish of 20.8 during the stretch – a slight improvement over his 22.2 average finish for the year.

Hopes were high that Mack and Kahne could contend this season, but the pair failed to yield much success in their 15-race tenure. Kahne’s average finish currently sits at a career-low 24.0, and the Washington native has yet to finish better than 17th in any race with LFR.

The 15-year Cup veteran left Michigan International Speedway 28th in the championship standings, with 13 laps led and two lead-lap finishes in 15 races.

Future plans for Mack and LFR’s team’s long-term crew chief plans are unknown at this time.

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