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Winston Cup Series

Wednesday, December 3

Kahne reportedly Elliott's replacement
Associated Press

Bill Elliott
Former NASCAR champion Bill Elliott will race a part-time schedule in 2004, an auto racing source said Wednesday.

The announcement will be made Thursday, the source told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Rookie Kasey Kahne will move up from the Busch Series to race full time in the No. 9 Dodge that Elliott has driven the past three years, according to the source.

Elliott could drive between five and 10 races, and his arrangement is not necessarily for just one year, the source said.

A representative for Evernham Motorsports said Kahne and team owner Ray Evernham were not available for comment.

Kahne has been under a multiyear contract with Ford. The top prospect ended the season with a victory in the Busch Series race at Homestead, his first win in 54 career starts.

There has been speculation since early in the 2003 season that the 48-year-old Elliott, the 1988 Cup champion, was going to retire. A strong surge in the second half of the season carried Elliott to ninth place in the standings.

Elliott's victory at Rockingham in the next-to-last race of the season was the 44th of his career but his first in 50 races, dating to the Brickyard 400 in August 2002. He then dominated the season finale at Homestead before a blown tire on the last lap cost him a second straight win.

"I'm eventually going to retire," Elliott said after the Rockingham race. "Right now, we've fought through some things but we haven't made a decision.

"On the other hand, as good as we're running right now, and you get those stars lined up, and as good as everything is coming together, it makes it hard."

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