James McFadden has joined Kasey Kahne Racing for 2019
Australian driver James McFadden has been signed to fill in for the injured Kasey Kahne. McFadden is set to pilot the #9 dirt sprint car at events across the United States.
The new driver will make his debut in just a few weeks. The KKR #9 will roll into the World of Outlaws Patriot Nationals in Charlotte on May 24-25.
Kasey Kahne was injured in a dirt sprint car crash back in March. Kahne wrecked in turn four on lap four and was sent into a series of flips.
Kahne was able to climb from the car under his own power following the sprint car crash. However, the medical staff further evaluated him.
“I have had an awesome opportunity pop up due to an unfortunate situation,” McFadden stated via social media on Wednesday.
“However, I’m excited to jump in the (No.) 9 and give it a crack. I can’t wait to rip it. Thank you to Kasey and the KKR team,” McFadden continued.
Kasey Kahne: The return to dirt
Kahne, The former NASCAR driver made an abrupt exit from stock car racing in late 2018. He was already in his final season, as announced.
The NASCAR exit came short of a full-season as he pulled himself from the car noting health issues. He wasn’t cleared by the medical staff following a test.
The issues started in 2017 when Kahne won at Indianapolis. He was so exhausted after the win that he couldn’t stand beside the car. Post-race interviews were done as he sat down and leaned his back against the door.
The hydration issues continued to worsen from that point. Byt Darlington 2018, Kahne struggled to keep his eyes open during the course of lengthy NASCAR races.
He would conserve energy by making sure he leaned against the side of the seat. But, eventually, it became too much and he went into an early retirement.
The now 39-year-old made a return to dirt sprint car racing this year. With shorter races and the open cockpit, the issues he had in stock car racing don’t exist.
He was excited about the year on the dirt. The team signed on a new sponsor, Wicked Energy. They then announced an aggressive plan for a lengthy season.
At the same time, Kahne planned to take time off. He would run the majority of his race in the summer plans, packing as many races as he could in a short three month marathon leading into the Knoxville Nationals.
However, that has been slightly postponed as McFadden will take over the seat of the #9 for an indefinite amount of time.
Kahne will continue to travel with his sprint car team. A date for a return to the cockpit has not yet been announced.