Dale Jr.’s Team Ends Driver’s Contract Early

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After six years together, this recent race winner had his contract terminated one year early after the team made an executive decision to no longer carry him on their roster.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., whom is quickly approaching retirement, has already had a replacement announced for his slot at Hendrick Motorsports (HMS), but the newly-revealed departure of fellow teammate Kasey Kahne leaves the team one driver short.

As reported by the Associated Press, Kahne is seeing his contract terminated earlier than it was scheduled and even though he took home a win during NASCAR‘s Brickyard 400 – it wasn’t enough to save his job.

37-year-old Kahne has been with HMS for six years, but after a dry spell of 102 non-winning races, he lost two major sponsors that said they both were pulling their deals after the 2017 season. The team’s announcement that they are cutting his contract short doesn’t come as much of a surprise – especially following Great Clips and Farmers Insurance yanking their deals.

“Kasey has worked extremely hard,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of HMS. “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 isn’t the only NASCAR driver who doesn’t have a confirmed ride for 2018 and he joins the ranks of Matt Kenseth and Kurt Busch who are looking for new contracts to get them back on the track for next season. Interestingly enough, Kenseth is rumored to be a possible replacement to fill Kahne’s seat in HMS’ No. 5 car.

“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 in a statement after the announcement. “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.”

The 2018 season is shaping up to be quite different than the last couple of years – especially with all these free agents. Even Danica Patrick is facing the possibility of having her contract axed after she’s endured quite a battle to keep her sponsor for this season.

Watch NASCAR’s report on the break-up of Kahne and Hendrick Motorsports below and let us know if you think this was a good move for the team in the comments.