Hendrick gives Kahne 3-year extension

(AP Photo/David Tulis, File)

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) Hendrick Motorsports announced a three-year contract extension Thursday that keeps Kasey Kahne in the No. 5 Chevrolet through the 2018 Sprint Cup season.

The deal removes Kahne from the free-agent market and raises questions about where Rick Hendrick plans to put Nationwide Series champion Chase Elliott in his stacked lineup. Kahne's current contract expired after next season, and many believed he'd have to improve his results to remain with the organization.

Hendrick is making changes to help Kahne, who needed a late win at Atlanta in August to make the 16-driver Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He was eliminated from the Chase after the second round and finished 15th in the final standings.

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Nationwide Leaders: Points
RankDriverPointsWins
1 C.Elliott 1213 3
2 R.Smith 1171 1
3 E.Sadler 1154 1
4 B.Scott 1154 0
5 T.Dillon 1148 1
6 T.Bayne 1086 0
7 C.Buescher 1014 1
8 B.Gaughan 954 2
9 R.Reed 889 0
10 J.Buescher 868 0
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