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Kahne felt he couldn't accept 2019 drive offers

Jim Utter
Kahne felt he couldn't accept 2019 drive offers

Retiring NASCAR Cup driver Kasey Kahne says he turned down offers to continue in 2019 - including one from top team Stewart-Haas - because of his declining form and commitment.

The 18-time Cup race-winner ended up at the small Leavine Family Racing team this season having lost his Hendrick Motorsports seat due to a slump in which he went three years without a win.

As well as LFR offering Kahne a two-year deal, he was approached by SHR - which has won 10 of this year's 24 Cup races so far - as a potential replacement for Kurt Busch.

But Kahne said he soon realised that accepting a 2019 seat would be the wrong choice.

"It has been on my mind for a while," he admitted. "Truthfully, the last two years at Hendrick and then the year here, I haven't been as competitive as what I want to be.

"So, I would say over the last three, four months it's started being on my mind. Like, do I need to find other things to do and think of other things to do? I just finally made that decision.

"There was money there, there were a few other offers that I had received over the last month and just options that we could talk about, things like that.

"It felt really good to have that, but at the same time it wasn't necessarily about that anymore and I didn't feel that I could seriously race all of next year and be completely committed 100%."

Kahne felt he couldn't accept 2019 drive offers

The 38-year-old said he wanted to "back off" from the gruelling NASCAR schedule and spend more time with his family, though he still plans to compete in "40 to 50" sprint car races next year over a span of about three months and to pursue business opportunities.

"My mind is always in racing. It's all I've thought about for 25 years. It's all I've wanted to do," said Kahne.

"So to just back off that a little bit I think will be really refreshing and be really good for me and my family and friends."

He has offered to help LFR with the process of finding his replacement.

"I see a few guys out there that could probably fill that spot and do a really nice job," Kahne said.

"I also have a great relationship with the sponsors that we've built this year and that they were building when I got into the car.

"It would be great to keep those relationships going as well."