Kasey Kahne will stay with Hendrick Motorsport through to at least the end of 2018, it was confirmed on Thursday with the announcement that the 34-year-old had signed a three year extension with the team. His existing contract had been due to expire at the end of the 2015 season.

"I've had a blast at Hendrick Motorsports, and to know I'm going to be racing here through 2018, to work with the same group of guys here at HMS, the same three drivers as my teammates--the guys are awesome to work with," Kahne said. "It feels really good to know that and know where we stand and start getting excited for next season."

"It's extremely gratifying to work with a driver like Kasey," said team owner Rick Hendrick in a team press release. "I think the world of him both as a driver with championship-level talent and an overall terrific young man.

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"Our whole organization has a great deal of respect for how hard he works, the professionalism he displays with our partners and the way he carries himself every day," Hendrick added. "We're committed to winning races and competing for titles with him for many years to come."

Kahne will have a new primary sponsor on board next season in the form of LiftMaster, and a new crew chief with Keith Rodden taking over from Kenny Francis, who will remain at Hendrick in a different capacity.

"I know we'll still work a lot with Kenny, a little bit of a different way, but we'll still work a lot with him and I'm excited to have him part of everything he's taking on," Kahne said.

"I'm excited to be back and looking forward to starting 2015 strong," said Rodden, who has worked with Kahne as a team engineer from 2004 to 2013 the latter two at Hendrick. "This is my first day, so it's a lot of fun being here and seeing so many familiar faces, getting back involved and going to meetings and just kind of hitting the ground running."

"I've always felt really confident with Keith in the past, we worked really well together," said Kahne. "I'm pretty excited about Keith as well and looking forward to everything we have going on for 2015 and beyond."

Six-time champion Jimmie Johnson is also under contract with Hendrick through 2015 but has hinted that he expects to announce an extension shortly, and that he has no intention of going elsewhere or of retiring from the sport. Four-time champion Jeff Gordon signed a lifetime contract with Hendrick in 1999, while the fourth member of the team line-up Dale Earnhardt Jr. is currently contracted through to the end of 2017.

Stenhouse crew penalised for parts irregularity

Team personnel on the Roush Fenway Racing #17 Ford driven by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. have been penalised after irregularities were found in rear-end suspension parts during last weekend's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The infraction has been deemed a P3 level penalty, putting it between serious and intermediate in NASCAR's new six-tier system for dealing with rules infringements. As well as a general violation of section 12-1 of the NASCAR rule book (actions detrimental to stock car racing) it was also deemed in breach of section 20-12 relating to suspension (all front end and rear suspension mounts and mounting hardware must not allow movement or realignment of any suspension/drive line component beyond normal rotation or suspension/drive line travel).

As a result, crew chief Mike Kelley was fined $50,000 and placed on NASCAR probation for the first six months of 2015, while car chief Patrick Magee was also placed on NASCAR probation for the same period but without a financial penalty.

There were no points penalties for Stenhouse himself, meaning that he finishes his sophomore campaign in the Sprint Cup Series in 27th place having achieved five top-10 finishes over the course of the season.