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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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NASCAR Leaders: Points
RankDriverPointsWins
1 K.Harvick 5043 5
2 R.Newman 5042 0
3 D.Hamlin 5037 1
4 J.Logano 5028 5
5 B.Keselowski 2361 6
6 J.Gordon 2348 4
7 M.Kenseth 2334 0
8 D.Earnhardt Jr. 2301 4
9 C.Edwards 2288 2
10 K.Busch 2285 1
11 J.Johnson 2274 4
12 K.Busch 2263 1
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NASCAR Leaders: Wins
RankDriverWins
1 B.Keselowski 6
2 K.Harvick 5
3 J.Logano 5
4 J.Gordon 4
5 D.Earnhardt Jr. 4
6 C.Edwards 2
7 D.Hamlin 1
8 K.Busch 1
9 R.Newman 0
10 M.Kenseth 0
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