Kasey Kahne: "I really want to still be in the Cup Series" in 2018

Kasey Kahne isn’t ready to hang up his helmet just yet.

On Tuesday, Hendrick Motorsports officially released Kahne from the final year of his contract following months of speculation regarding his status after 2017.

But Kahne isn’t just sitting around waiting for the phone to ring.

“I started basically Sunday night, Monday talked to some different owners, personnel at different teams and just trying to show that I really want to still be in the Cup Series,” Kahne said. “I want to race here and if there is any opportunity I would love to talk about it, something like that. That has been really good. Everybody is nice and talked about their programs and was really cool to have those conversations.”

“Also, Mr. Hendrick has been really supportive and making sure that…you know he wants me in a car as well. You know it didn’t work out in the No. 5, but he wants me in another car and he wants me to be out there racing next year. Between all that, I just really think I will be able to come up with something that will be very competitive and be able to be in the Cup Series for a while to come.”

Team owner Rick Hendrick acknowledged he would pay out the last year of Kahne’s contract earlier in the week when it was announced William Byron would be replacing the driver in the No. 5 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. Hendrick would not confirm a potential partnership with GMS Racing for 2018, however, Kahne’s name has been mentioned as a possible candidate should the Maury Gallagher team expand to a Cup program in 2018.

Few opportunities

After 14 full seasons in the Monster Energy Cup Series with 18 career Cup wins and 27 poles, there are goals the 37-year-old driver in hoping to achieve in NASCAR. Although Kahne has been with relatively competitive rides throughout his career, he remains realistic about the current job market at the Cup level.

“I think we all know that there are not a ton of opportunity,” Kahne said. “There are some really good drivers that don’t have a deal done at this time that will probably end up in cars I would think. I just feel like the opportunities are pretty slim, but I’ve always tried to be really respectful and when I’ve had the opportunity to go fast and win we have been able to win some races.

“I would always like to win more, but we have some wins and have done a good job with the people in the garage and our partners over the years. So, I really think that I can come up with something good and come up with something that will be fun to be a part of and also try to work hard to make that team better than it’s ever been and myself better than I’ve been. I still have that mindset and I really hope that something works out to where I can be in a strong car next year and enjoy racing in this series, because I’ve actually enjoyed it for so long and I’ve lived so many of the highs of the Cup Series.

“I think I’ve lived a great part of the sport, been part of all that and I don’t want to be done yet.”

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