Kasey Kahne said the decision to end his full-time NASCAR career had been on his mind for a while before he officially announced his plans Thursday.
“Truthfully, the last two years at Hendrick and then the year here at LFR [Leavine Family Racing], I haven’t been as competitive as what I want to be,” Kahne said. “So, I would say over the last three, four months it’s started being on my mind, like man, do I need to find other things to do? I just finally made that decision. But it’s definitely been there for a few months.”
Kahne said it was “exciting” to join LFR this year and try something fresh, and that the team was making improvements and working hard to step up. While that kept Kahne invested for a little longer, he finally got to the point where he wanted to do something different.
Spending time with son Tanner, being able to go to football games or do other activities, will be a part of his future. An avid sprint car lover, and owner, Kahne will be more invested in Kasey Kahne Racing while also getting to run more races himself. And feeling as though he can still win races and compete competitively in NASCAR, Kahne wouldn’t be opposed to returning one day in an opportunity to “help out” with his services.
The 2004 Rookie of the Year, Kahne admits racing has been his dedication and on his mind for 25 years. He believes it will be refreshing for himself, family and friends to back off that a bit.
But Kahne did have opportunities to continue in the Cup Series. Team owner Bob Leavine told RACER that he had a contract on his desk for Kahne going forward, and Kahne there were other offers put in front of him.
“I had some neat opportunities with Leavine,” said Kahne. “We were working together for the season, and it was going to keep getting better. There was money there. There were a few other offers that I had received over the last month and just options that we could talk about, things like that.
“It felt really good to have that, but at the same time it wasn’t necessarily about that anymore, and I didn’t feel that I could seriously race all of next year and be completely committed 100 percent, and I feel like there are guys out there that can be and that should have those opportunities over me at this point in time, because I don’t feel like I can be that guy from this point on.”
Kahne does want to be help LFR transition into next season and provide advice or insight on drivers. Saying he sees a few drivers that could fill the seat, Kahne also feels he has developed great relationships with sponsors that he would like to see keep going.
With 13 races left in the season, including Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, Kahne will have made 540 consecutive starts from the start to end of his career. As of right now, Kahne has 18 career wins with his last being the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis.
“It will absolutely be satisfying,” said Kahne of his career when the checkered flag falls at Homestead. “To me, I’ve won 20 Cup races; it says 18, but that All-Star Race  was just as hard as the others. The [Daytona] 150 I had to beat Tony [Stewart in 2010] and that was just as hard as the others.
“Hey, I would love to win a championship. I would love to have 30 race wins. But, that didn’t happen, and I’m fine with that. And I feel like the things that did have been great. I got to basically make a run and live in an awesome time in NASCAR from 2004 until now, and it feels great to be a part of NASCAR, for sure.”