Great Clips leaving Kasey Kahne at end of year, creating big sponsor gap for No. 5 car

24 races that Kasey Kahne had sponsorship for in 2017 are open for 2018. (Getty)

Kasey Kahne is going to need a lot of sponsorship in 2018.

Great Clips is ending its contract with Kahne and his No. 5 car at the end of 2017. The contract with the sponsor and team was supposed to go through 2018 but had a buyout option in the contract to get out of the deal at the end of the current season.

Via ESPN:

“We have enjoyed our partnership with Hendrick Motorsports over the last five years,” Great Clips president Steve Hockett said in a statement provided to ESPN. “From top to bottom, Hendrick Motorsports is a first-class organization, and through our relationship, Kasey and the entire team have been excellent ambassadors of our brand.

“With a shift in our marketing strategies, our partnership will come to an end at the conclusion of 2017.”

Great Clips first appeared on a car for Kahne in 2012. The company was set to sponsor a third of the season next year for Kahne and was the largest sponsor for the No. 5 car on the books for the upcoming season.

Farmers Insurance, Kahne’s primary sponsor since he joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, said last fall that it would be leaving at the end of the 2017 season. It’s slated to be on Kahne’s car for a third of the season in 2017. Without Farmers and Great Clips, that’s 24 races that Hendrick Motorsports has to fill in 2018 that it had sold for 2017.

Kahne’s contract runs through the 2018 season. He signed a contract extension with the team after many wondered if Chase Elliott’s promotion to the Cup Series in 2016 would be in the No. 5 car. Elliott’s Cup Series destination — the No. 24, of course — was clear after Jeff Gordon announced his retirement effective at the end of the 2015 season.

Hendrick Motorsports is currently working to re-up Lowe’s and Jimmie Johnson. The driver and sponsor contracts expire at the end of the 2017 but it would be nothing less than an absolute stunner if Johnson and Lowe’s didn’t return for 2018 and beyond. HMS will also be working to find a driver and potential sponsorship for the No. 88 in 2018 following Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s retirement.

Kahne is currently 20th in the points standings. He’s finished higher than 20th in every season at Hendrick though he hasn’t won a race since the 2014 season.


– – – – – – –

Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!