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Competitiveness, family time reasons for Kahne leaving the sport

Jeff Birchfield • Aug 18, 2018 at 8:16 PM

BRISTOL — Kasey Kahne addressed the media at Bristol Motor Speedway after he announced plans Thursday to leave the full-time NASCAR circuit at the end of the 2018 season.

Heading to the Bristol Night Race, Kahne stands 28th in the points standings for the year in his first year of driving for the Leavine Family Racing team.

"It has been on my mind for a while. Truthfully, the last two years at Hendrick (Motorsports) and then the year here at LFR (Leavine Family Racing) just like as far as competition, I haven't been as competitive as what I want to be," said Kahne, driver of the No. 95 Chevrolet. "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 and think of other things to do? I just finally made that decision."

Over his 15-year career, Kahne has recorded 18 career Monster Energy Cup Series wins in 527 starts.

The father of a 2-year-old son, Tanner, and owner of World of Outlaws racing teams, Kahne said he has other priorities.

"The highs don't outweigh the lows and the grueling schedule takes a toll on your quality of life," he said. "I need to spend more time with the things I enjoy and love and that's spending more time with Tanner and my sprint car teams."

SADLER ALSO SCALING BACK

Kahne's announcement came after Elliott Sadler, who drives the No. 1 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series, made it known he will not be a full-time driver in the series after the current season.

The 43-year-old Sadler has 13 wins, including a pair at Bristol, and 219 top-10 finishes in the 383 career starts in the Xfinity Series.

OPPORTUNITY FOR DILLON

Austin Dillon didn't have to think long when asked about the races on the NASCAR circuit he most wants to win. His first career win came in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte and he started off this season with a win in the Daytona 500.

They included Saturday’s race and two others held at iconic venues.

"Bristol and then the next one, Darlington and Indy. These next three are some great tracks," Dillon said. "You have the night race at Bristol, the Southern 500 and Indy, so these next three are three of the top in the sport. I love this little run right here before the playoffs start."

STERLING BACK AT BMS

Two-time Daytona 500 winner Sterling Marlin came back to Bristol Motor Speedway as an official honoree of Food City, which made a donation to St. Jude's Children's Hospital on Marlin's behalf.

Marlin, who won a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol in 2000, ran into several old friends, including Kingsport native Tony Glover, his former crew chief on the Morgan-McClure Motorsports No. 4 Kodak car. He admitted he didn't know any of the younger drivers.

"Soon as I came through the gate, I saw Glover," Marlin said. "I hadn't seen him in about six months. Looks like he's been eating at Golden Corral every night. He's gained some weight, and I've lost weight.

"The drivers, I guess they were still in diapers. I don't know any of them, but it's still fun to come see everybody."

ROVAL ROYALE

Charlotte Motor Speedway unveiled its trophy for the Bank of America 400 to be run on the roval course on Sept. 30.

The Stephen Gould-designed trophy is three feet tall with a replica of the top of the Bank of America Corporate Center on top and the design of the ROVAL interwoven in the trophy.

It was also announced that Sammy Hagar and his band, The Circle, will perform for fans on pit road on Saturday, Sept. 29, the night before the race. It will follow the NASCAR Xfinity Series race scheduled earlier that day.

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