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Hendrick Motorsports Name Keith Rodden as Kasey Kahne’s New Crew Chief

Hendrick Motorsports Name Keith Rodden as Kasey Kahne’s New Crew Chief

by November 19, 2014 0 comments

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images

CONCORD, N.C. — Hendrick Motorsports have shuffled up their crew chief lineup for next season as they have named Keith Rodden as crew chief for Kasey Kahne and the No. 5 team for 2015.

Rodden, the crew chief for Jamie McMurray’s No. 1 Chip Ganassi Racing team in 2014, returns to a team he served for as lead engineer in 2012 and 2013 under outgoing crew chief Kenny Francis.

As a crew chief, Rodden has previous experience working with Kahne, serving as crew chief for the 17-time race winner for three races with Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2007.

“Opportunities like this don’t come around often,” Rodden said. “The people at Hendrick Motorsports are like my family, especially in the 5/24 shop. I expect we’ll have great chemistry right off the bat, which should make for a smooth transition.

“I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running with the No. 5 team and everyone who supports us. There’s no better resource than Kenny, so I hope he’s ready for some late-night phone calls.”

Rodden’s move to replace Francis as crew chief for the No. 5 team moves Francis to the position of vehicle technical director for Hendrick Motorsports.

“When it was clear there was a need for this role, I was very intrigued and felt it would be a great challenge,” Francis said of his new role with Hendrick Motorsports. “It encompasses areas I’m passionate about, and I know we can make a difference for our teams, especially with the new rules for next year.

“There are a lot of reasons why it feels right at this point in my career, and I’m looking forward to contributing in a new way.”

Team owner Rick Hendrick labelled the personnel changes as a strategic move for the 2015 season, a season that will feature massive aerodynamic and engine-related changes made to the Sprint Cup cars.

“This is a great opportunity for both guys, and it will strengthen our overall organization,” Hendrick said of his personnel reshuffling. “With the new rules for next year, it’s more important than ever to have a strong vehicle development program. Unifying those efforts for the first time under Kenny’s guidance will be critical to our success. It plays to his experience as a leader, innovative engineer and race-winning crew chief. He’s just tailor-made for it.

“Keith is one of the most talented young crew chiefs in the garage. He already knows our culture and works extremely well with our people. The relationships and familiarity he has with Kenny, Kasey and the No. 5 team will make it easy to hit the ground running. We talk a lot about ‘fit factor,’ and this definitely falls into that category. He’s the right fit.”

The acquisition of Rodden from Chip Ganassi Racing by Hendrick Motorsports makes for the second offseason crew chief change for HMS as Steve Letarte, crew chief for the No. 88 team, departs from the organization for a career as a television analyst with Greg Ives moving to the No. 88 team.

The respective crew chiefs for the No. 24 and No. 48 teams, Alan Gustafson and Chad Knaus, are expected to remain with their respective teams in 2015.

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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