MOORESVILLE, N.C. - Kasey Kahne, 22, will drive the No. 38 Great Clips Ford for Akins Motorsports in 2003. It will be his first full season in the NASCAR Busch Series.
"I'm very excited about a full-time Busch Series ride," said Kahne. "It's a great opportunity for me to move to the next level in stock car racing with a strong team and great sponsorship from Great Clips. I'm very impressed with what this team has done and look forward to working with crew chief Wes Ward and the rest of the guys."
Kahne, a native of Enumclaw, Wash., started 20 Busch Series races in 2002 in a limited schedule for Robert Yates Racing. He scored a 10th-place finish at Michigan in August and had nine finishes in the top 20. It was his first season behind the wheel of full-bodied stock cars after a stellar career in open-wheeled cars.
"I learned a lot about stock car racing last year," said Kahne. "With the weight of these cars being so much heavier than open-wheeled cars, I had to learn about what we had to do to make the cars drive properly. Last year's experience is going to be very helpful as I look forward to next season."
Brad Akins has owned a NASCAR Busch Series team since 1992 and has built his team along the same guidelines he followed to grow a small Georgia Ford franchise to one of the nation's top-30 dealerships. In 11 seasons, Akins Motorsports has two wins, 21 top-five finishes and 53 top-10s. The team finished fifth in the series point standings in each season from 1998 through 2001.
"We're very happy with the addition of Kasey," said Akins. "It's a tremendous opportunity for our team and I'm confident he will do a very good job not only for us, but also in representing our sponsors."
"Kasey is one of the young upcoming drivers with a very competitive reputation," said Doug Stringer, general manager for the team. "He's 'up on the wheel' all the time and adds some youth to our experienced team."
Founded in Minneapolis in 1982, Great Clips has rapidly grown into one of the nations largest franchisors. By perfecting a system for delivering competitively priced, high-qualify cuts and perms to men, women and children, Great Clips has opened more than 1,774 salons in 92 markets across the U.S. and Canada - with no signs of slowing down.