Hendrick Motorsports names new crew chief for Kasey Kahne

LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Kenny Francis during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
LOUDON, NH - SEPTEMBER 21:  (L-R) Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Kenny Francis during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)
LOUDON, NH – SEPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Kenny Francis during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on September 21, 2012 in Loudon, New Hampshire. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday that they have named Keith Rodden as crew chief of the No. 5 team and driver Kasey Kahne. Former Kahne crew chief Kenny Francis has been moved to the new position of vehicle technical director. Francis has been crew chief for Kahne since the final race of 2005, earning 16 race wins and five Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup berths. The pair worked together at several Sprint cup teams before both joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.

Francis, 44, 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. Reporting to general manager Doug Duchardt, he will serve as the primary liaison between Hendrick Motorsports’ crew chiefs and its vehicle group.

“This is a great opportunity for both guys, and it will strengthen our overall organization,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “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.” MORE>>>

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Greg is a published award winning sportswriter who spent 23 years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that in and around the Special Operations community. Greg is the author of "The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers' Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing" and has been published in major publications across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was also a contributor to Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Soul, published in 2010, and the Christmas edition in 2016. He wrote as the NASCAR, Formula 1, Auto Reviews and National Veterans Affairs Examiner for Examiner.com and has appeared on Fox News. He holds a BS degree in communications, a Masters degree in psychology and is currently a PhD candidate majoring in psychology. He is currently the weekend Motorsports Editor for Autoweek.