The history of Richard Petty Motorsports and full crews for Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose
Kahne also picks up new primary sponsor for three races in 2015 RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today MORE: Rodden to step in as No. 5 crew chief Hendrick Motorsports announced Thursday morning that it has signed driver Kasey Kahne to a three-year contract extension, keeping him in the fold through 2018 . "I've found a home at Hendrick Motorsports ," said Kahne in a team release. "We have incredible people and partners supporting us, and I couldn’t be more excited about the direction we're headed as a team and a company. It's the right place for me, and I'm looking forward to being here for a long time." The news comes one day after a major shakeup with Hendrick's No. 5 Chevrolet team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, with Keith Rodden accepting a crew chief role and Kenny Francis, atop Kahne's pit box since the 2005 season finale, shifting to the position of vehicle technical director. Kahne, an 11-year veteran and 17-time winner in NASCAR's premier series, and Francis joined the Hendrick organization in 2012. "It's extremely gratifying to work with a driver like Kasey," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports said in a team release. "I think the world of him both as a driver with championship-level talent and an overall terrific young man. Our whole organization has a great deal of respect for how hard he works, the professionalism he displays with our partners and the way he carries himself every day. We're committed to winning races and competing for titles with him for many years to come." In addition, Kahne will have LiftMaster on board as a primary sponsor for three races in the 2015 Sprint Cup season as well as an associate sponsor for the rest of the races. The agreement will be for the next three seasons (2015 to 2017). LiftMaster will be the primary sponsor for Kahne on May 24 (Charlotte), July 11 (Kentucky) and October 18 (Kansas). "It means a lot to have support from a great company like LiftMaster," Kahne said in a release. "The No. 5 team has high expectations for 2015, and they'll be with us as the primary sponsor at three tracks where we're traditionally very fast. All of us are looking forward to representing them throughout the season and developing a successful long-term relationship." We’re excited to join @KaseyKahne & @TeamHendrick starting in 2015! http://t.co/kZJdDPiroS pic.twitter.com/2aP8Oy7CJr — LiftMaster (@LiftMaster) November 20, 2014 The 34-year-old driver has won five times in Hendrick equipment and notched his best-ever finish in the season standings -- fourth -- in his first year with the team. Last season was a struggle, however, with Kahne posting just three top-five finishes and winding up 15th in the final standings. Kahne qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs with a Labor Day weekend victory at Atlanta Motor Speedway in the next-to-last race of the regular season. Kahne survived the first round of eliminations in the new-look Chase, but was ousted in the Contender Round, the second three-race leg of the postseason. Kahne agreed to join Hendrick in April 2010, replacing veteran driver Mark Martin . After signing the multiyear agreement, Kahne finished out most of the season in Richard Petty Motorsports' Fords, then spent the last five races of 2010 and all of 2011 driving Red Bull Racing's Toyotas before finally landing in the No. 5 Chevy. Re-signing Kahne, whose contract was set to expire after the 2015 season, helps solidify the Hendrick driver lineup. Team cornerstone Jeff Gordon , a four-time series champion, signed a lifetime contract with Hendrick in 1999. Six-time champion Jimmie Johnson is also under contract through 2015, and Dale Earnhardt Jr ., the sport's most popular driver, is signed through 2017. With Hendrick at the NASCAR-mandated maximum of four teams and the unlikelihood of Johnson departing after 2015, speculation will likely rise about the future of 18-year-old prodigy Chase Elliott , the reigning NASCAR Nationwide Series champion who is under contract to Hendrick and drives for the affiliated JR Motorsports team with co-owner Earnhardt. Team owner Rick Hendrick said Nov. 8 after Elliott became the series' youngest champion that the young driver's career arc will likely include a handful of Sprint Cup races next season, but that there is no accelerated timetable to place him in NASCAR's premier series on a full-time basis. Elliott will return next year to defend his title in what will be known as the NASCAR XFINITY Series, driving JRM equipment. "Another year of seasoning here will be good for him, and we're not in any hurry," Hendrick said. "He's 18 years old." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Seven-time Cup champion discusses popularity, Richard Petty Motorsports
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Find out where your favorite Sprint Cup Series star will be As we get closer to the Daytona 500 on Feb. 22 (1 p.m. ET, FOX), the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be hitting the road to promote the season's opening points race with the Road to the Daytona 500 Tour. The cross-country media blitz will feature 11 cities and feature nearly 20 drivers. Each city on the tour will host a driver for a day of special events and media availabilities, all to promote the 57th running of "The Great American Race." "We're excited to work with the drivers as we build the excitement throughou the country about the Daytona 500 and the start of the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season," Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said in a release. "The Road to the Daytona 500 is a critical element in promoting 'The Great American Race.' " The events actually kicked off on Jan. 2 in Jacksonville with 2014 Daytona 500 champion Dale Earnhardt Jr . meeting with the media along the side Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 Trophy at the TaxSlayer Bowl, while also participating in a Twitter takeover of the track's Twitter handle and flipping the coin prior to the college football game between Tennessee and Iowa. The other cities and drivers on the tour include: --- Washington D.C. ( Jeff Gordon ) --- Phoenix ( Danica Patrick ) --- Atlanta ( Kyle Busch ) --- Boston ( Kevin Harvick ) --- Chicago ( Carl Edwards ) --- Tampa ( Brad Keselowski , Tony Stewart and Kyle Larson ) --- Los Angeles ( Jimmie Johnson ) --- Miami ( Joey Logano ) --- New York ( Dale Earnhardt Jr . and Denny Hamlin ) --- Orlando ( Matt Kenseth ) --- Daytona Beach ( Clint Bowyer , AJ Allmendinger and Ryan Newman ) Also, on the tour, Austin Dillon and his grandfather, Richard Childress Racing team owner Richard Childress will participate in an Escalator Duel to officially activate the new vertical transportation as part of the $400 million Daytona Rising project. During Budweiser Speedweeks, Aric Almirola and Kasey Kahne are expected to take flight with the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, who will provide the flyover for the 2015 Daytona 500 . FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule