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Kasey Kahne optimistic about job prospects for 2018

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Kasey Kahne said Friday that he’s optimistic he’ll find a ride for next season after this week’s news that he wouldn’t be back in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet next season.

Kahne’s remarks came after opening practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Michigan International Speedway, site of Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM).

“I started Sunday night, Monday talking to some different owners and personnel at different teams, just trying to show that I really want to still be in the Cup series,” Kahne said. “I want to race here and if there’s any opportunity, I’d love to talk about it. That’s been really good.”

The Hendrick organization announced this week that 19-year-old William Byron would begin his rookie season in NASCAR’s premier series next year, replacing Kahne in the No. 5 Chevy. The decision left Kahne looking for a ride in 2018, though team owner Rick Hendrick indicated that he would try to aid his search.

MORE: Byron to drive No. 5 in 2018

Kahne admitted top-level vacancies for next season are scarce, but he holds out hope that new driving duties will develop.

“I think we all know that there’s not a ton of opportunity and there’s some really good drivers that don’t have a deal done at this time that will probably end up in cars, I would think,” Kahne said. “I feel like the opportunities are pretty slim, but I’ve always tried to be really respectful and when I’ve the opportunity to go fast and win, we’ve been able to win some races. I would always like to win more, but we have some wins and have done a good job with the people in the garage and our partners over the years, so I really think I can come up with something good and something fun to be a part of.”

Kahne, 37, joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. The Washington native scored six of his 18 career premier-series wins during his six-year run with HMS.

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The most recent of those wins came late last month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Kahne survived a frantic overtime finish to end a 102-race losing skid. He sits 19th in the points standings.