Kahne’s current team, Hendrick Motorsports where he has driven the No. 5 Chevrolet for the past five seasons, announced that Kahne would be leaving in 2018.
Leavine Family Racing will be Kahne’s fifth organization.
“I feel like (Leavine has) really made a lot of gains in the past couple years,” Kahne said in an interview with NASCAR.com. “It’s pretty cool to watch, any time you see a small team do what they’ve done in our sport.
“The opportunity will be a challenge, but also a lot of fun. I enjoy a challenge and I enjoy working with people. The best part about it is us all being a team and trying to improve every single weekend and learning from what we do one week and improving the next. I think that’s something we’ll be able to do. And I’m really excited about it.”
“After Indy I really saw his confidence level rise,” team co-owner Bob Leavine told NASCAR.com. “That was great for him. I told him, ‘You are going to be the guy here, the star on our stage and you don’t share it with anyone.’ And the experience he brings will help our guys’ confidence.”
The Leavine Family Racing team has one top-five finish this season from Michael McDowell who had a fourth-place run at the summer night race at Daytona.
“Michael is a personal friend of mine and I love him dearly,” Leavine said. “He spoke to the group this morning and said how much he appreciated the support and being a part of this family. He’s a class act and a professional. He’ll always be a part of this family.”
Leavine stated that he is working to find the right crew chief for Kahne and that he is open to teaming Kahne with people he has worked with in the past.
“It was exciting to get the process started and now for the news to be out, we’ll be looking at where we want to be crew chief-wise,” Leavine said.
“That’s a really important relationship between the driver and crew chief. Who is the right person? You do a lot of discussion and try to make the best decision you can.”
Hendrick Motorsports announced this week that former championship crew chief Darian Grubb would replace Keith Rodden on the No. 5 team for the rest of the season.
“I think it’s good because I won’t have to worry about next year anymore,” Kahne said about the move.
“I have a plan and can start working on the plan sooner than later. It will help me finish strong in the 5 car. I really enjoy my car and the team and working with Darian will be something new, something different.
“I just want to finish strong and do everything possible to finish with the best results in the 5 car I possibly can.”