UPDATE: The last few weeks, Kasey Kahne has picked up the pace in his first year with Leavine Family Racing. That speed looks like it's about to be rewarded with a contract extension.
Kahne, 38, told Frontstretch last weekend at Pocono Raceway he would like to return to the race team in 2019. Team owner, Bob Leavine, confirmed to Frontstretch on Saturday (Aug. 4) that LFR is looking to extend their relationship with Kahne.
"He's done very well for us, in fact we're working on his contract to extend it, so that's how we feel about him," Leavine said. "That's our goal. You never know what's going to happen, we're working on it right now.
"We've already talked to him. He said he would like to come back, so that was cool because he fits. We've just been slow getting the people and putting the cars together that he deserves. There's been times we've had good cars and we make terrible mistakes."
Ideally, Leavine would like the deal to be finalized within the next month so the team can work on a 2019 manufacturer. Over the past few months, there have been rumors circulating about LFR moving to Toyota next season and Leavine confirmed that's likely true.
"What I can tell you is, we're 90 percent sure, and we've notified RCR that we won't be back, and then we're investigating all the other possibilities on where to go," Leavine said. "Have we visited those folks [Toyota]? Yes.
"Our goal with this team is to be competitive. Anybody who is in this garage wants to be competitive. Obviously, Toyota is a great organization. Furniture Row has done really well running Toyotas. Coach Gibbs has done tremendously well running Toyotas, so it obviously has to be something we look at and see if there is anything there that works out and is mutually beneficial."
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Original post: 8-1-2018 After competing the past six seasons with Hendrick Motorsports, Kasey Kahne took a step back and moved to a smaller team for 2018: Leavine Family Racing. The hope was that his arrival would spark the No. 95 group and increase their performance across the board.
Last weekend at Pocono Raceway, Kahne sat down with Frontstretch to discuss how he's adapted to LFR, how the opportunity compares to other small teams he's been a part of in the past, 2019 plans and much more.
Dustin Albino, Frontstretch: You made the transition over to Leavine Family Racing this season. Overall, how has that process been 20 races in?
Kasey Kahne: The transition has been good, pretty easy. They have a good group of guys that from the ownership down want to improve, want to work together and want to get better. I feel like we've been doing that. We definitely want better results at all times, everybody does. We're working in a good direction, and hopefully, it's a direction we can continue going in and building on for the future.
Albino: Do you know what your plans are for 2019?
Kahne: I don't know about next year, but I've enjoyed this year. I want to run better, but so does everybody on my team. To me, we're going to only be better the longer we do it together and I think there's a lot of potential at LFR. I can see myself racing at LFR for a while.
Albino: How does going deep into a season not knowing next year's plans change your mindset?
Kahne: I pretty much got fired at Watkins Glen and had to figure it out after that. It's like a year ago just about.
I think that there will be the opportunity with the team I'm with and that would be the right opportunity for me if we can make it all work. I'm just interested in figuring all that out and going from there.
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