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Great Clips Ending Sponsorship of Kasey Kahne After 2017

Kasey Kahne is losing another major sponsor at the end of the season.

Great Clips has exercised an option to end its deal with Kahne and Hendrick Motorsports once the season concludes at Homestead-Miami Speedway this November. The haircut company currently backs Kahne for 10 races a season and has been a part of his No. 5 team since 2013.

The move, first reported by ESPN, was defined as a change in marketing strategy by Great Clips President Steve Hockett. It ends an on-and-off partnership between the company and Kahne that’s lasted since 2003, when he drove in the XFINITY Series with Brad Akins’ No. 38.

The news comes at a time when Kahne’s Hendrick Motorsports team remains mired in a long-term slump. The veteran has not won at the Cup level since Atlanta in the fall of 2014, a span of 95 races. He sits 20th in the current point standings, leading just seven laps since the 2016 Daytona 500. Missing the NASCAR playoffs the last two seasons, he’s currently trailing sophomore Ryan Blaney by 64 points for this year’s final cutoff spot.

Great Clips joins Farmers Insurance in not returning to the No. 5 team in 2018. That creates a total of 22 races for Kahne that now need funding for next season. No other company in 2017 is backing the team as a primary for more than three events.

Kahne is signed with Hendrick Motorsports through the 2018 season, but it’s possible lack of funding could force a change. The team already has an opening for next year with Dale Earnhardt Jr. retiring.

Should HMS choose to make a change, William Byron and Alex Bowman are among the young drivers HMS has under its umbrella. Bowman, last year’s sub for Earnhardt, is a prime contender to take over the No. 88 ride. Byron, meanwhile, has funding from Jeff Gordon’s former sponsor, Axalta. That’s paired with Liberty University as he runs for a championship in XFINITY.

The team had no comment Wednesday on the sponsorship news.

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russ

Seems difficult to believe that Kahne will be back with HMS, despite the historical weakness of this team. But as deep as the resources of HMS are you have to wonder can even they continue to land enough sponsors. And what does this say for the rest of the field?

Upstate24fan

I have to think Kasey’s days are numbered now. They have tried everything with him and the 5 is not preforming. The other three teams have found varying success in wins and points since Kasey’s last win in 2014. I like Kasey, but it is time for a change. I thought Kasey would stick around until his contact runs out in 2018, but with sponsor’s bailing, Hendrick might look to a veteran to keep the seat warm until Byron is ready. I have to think Carl Edwards phone will be ringing with 2 openings at Hendrick in 2018, and possibly the 10 at SHR.

Bill B

I agree. Kasey needs a change. He has one last chance to get with a team and crew chief combination before age dictates his retirement (if performance hasn’t already). Wouldn’t it be something if Dodge announced they were coming back and Kasey was going to drive for them. That certainly would be full circle.

I just don’t see Edwards being interested. If you believe Eric Jones is only going to be with FRR this year then he will be driving a JGR car next year. With that scenario I don’t see how Matt Kenseth won’t be looking for a ride because I am doubting that Busch, Hamlin or Suarez are going anywhere. Of course the most logical scenario may just be Jones and Kenseth swapping rides/teams.

Bill W

Surprised he is still around, if Jeff had not retired he would have been gone.

paltex

Hate it for another reason, Kasey has 2 World of Outlaw cars on their tour. I believe that Great Clips sponsors part of one of his sprint cars. Like any high level of racing, World of Outlaw sprint cars need sponsorship to survive. Kasey also drives a WOO sprinter when he has a chance.

Tom B

Bring back Mark Martin in the 5 car. He will put it in Victory Circle again.

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