Hendrick tabs Keith Rodden new Kahne crew chief

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) Kasey Kahne will have a new crew chief in 2015, ending the second-longest active pairing in the Sprint Cup Series.

Hendrick Mostorsports selected Keith Rodden as crew chief of the No. 5 Chevrolet on Wednesday and Kenny Francis moved into the new position of vehicle technical director.

Kahne and Francis had been paired since the 2005 season finale. Only six-time champion Jimmie Johnson and his Hendrick crew chief Chad Knaus have had a longer working relationship.

Kahne had one win this season to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship and finished 15th in the final standings.

Francis will oversee organization-wide car design and development with day-to-day management of Hendrick Motorsports' chassis, body, research and development, on-track testing, vehicle engineering and simulation programs.

Rodden returns to Hendrick where he worked alongside Francis in 2012 and 2013 as the lead engineer for Kahne and the No. 5 team. For 2014, he was chosen crew chief for the No. 1 team at Chip Ganassi Racing where he won the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, earned two pole positions and helped driver Jamie McMurray set a career-best in laps led.

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