CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Hendrick Motorsports has locked down the driver and sponsor of its No. 5 car with an extension of Great Clips for driver Kasey Kahne.
The two-year agreement covers the 2017 and 2018 seasons and gives Kahne 10 races of sponsorship each year. Great Clips, which has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 2012, also will be a major associate sponsor of the No. 5 team each year.
''Kasey has been a member of the Great Clips family for over 13 years and is a great ambassador of our brand,'' said Terri Miller, senior vice president of marketing and communications for Great Clips.
Kahne has been with Hendrick since 2012 and has five wins and three berths in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. He has not made the Chase the last two years, and is currently 17th in the standings. There had been speculation that Hendrick would replace him in the No. 5, but his contract and sponsorship keeps him with the organization at least through 2018.
''Great Clips has believed in me throughout my career,'' Kahne said. ''They're a big part of the No. 5 team, and we feel like members of their team, too.''
SADLER BACK IN THE CHASE
Twelve years after participating in his first Chase for the championship, Elliott Sadler is back in the field.
This time, though, it's the inaugural Chase in the Xfinity Series.
Sadler is one of the 12 drivers competing in the Chase for NASCAR's second-tier series title. In 2004, he was among the 10-driver field that made the original Chase. He finished ninth in the standings that season.
''I don't know if that's good or bad,'' Sadler said, unsure if it gives him any sort of edge over 11 drivers who have no playoff experience.
''It's not like I'm a seasoned quarterback that can read the defense better than a rookie quarterback coming in. I think that's when experience plays a part,'' he said. ''I think now it's just about which teams can get their cars the fastest, what driver can get the best information and not make mistakes on the track. I feel like everybody that's a part of this Chase, all 12 guys, can do just as good a job as anybody else, no matter their age or where they're from or how many years they've raced.''
PAGENAUD-PETIT LE MANS
Fresh off his IndyCar championship, Simon Pagenaud has already lined up another race.
Pagenaud will join Action Express Racing's points-leading No. 31 Corvette at Petit Le Mans on Oct. 1. He'll joint drivers Dane Cameron and Eric Curran on the team that holds a one-point lead in the standings over fellow Action Express teammates Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa. The Fittipaldi-Barbosa lineup will be bulked for Petit Le Mans with Filipe Albuquerque.
Pagenaud was a regular competitor in sports car racing from 2008 until 2010, primarily participating in the American Le Mans Series. In three years, Pagenaud had eight wins.
He then transitioned to IndyCar and earned his first title on Sunday driving for Team Penske.
Also getting an additional driver for Petit Le Mans will be Wayne Taylor Racing, which added Max Angelelli to the lineup of brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor. Ryan Hunter-Reay will join Marc Goossens and Ryan Dalziel on the Visit Florida Racing Corvette lineup.
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has added a pair of IndyCar stars to its two-car lineup. Four-time champion Scott Dixon will join three-time winners Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, who are second in the standings in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT.
Le Mans 24-Hour GTE Pro class winners Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller will co-drive with four-time IndyCar champion Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 66 Ford GT.