The 2017 season marks Keith Rodden’s third leading the Hendrick Motorsports No. 5 Chevrolet SS team with driver Kasey Kahne. Regarded as one of the brightest young minds in the NASCAR garage, Rodden will commence his fourth year as a NASCAR Cup Series crew chief.
Rodden is no stranger to working with Kahne. Their longstanding relationship dates back more than a decade when Rodden worked with the driver as a team engineer beginning in 2004.
After graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in mechanical engineering, Rodden’s motor sports career began in 2003 with owner Andy Petree. The Denver, North Carolina, native joined Evernham Motorsports the following year to support Kahne’s NASCAR XFINITY Series effort.
In 2006, Rodden moved to Kahne’s No. 9 NASCAR Cup team and began an eight-year stretch under the tutelage of crew chief Kenny Francis that included stints at Evernham Motorsports, Richard Petty Motorsports, Team Red Bull and Hendrick Motorsports. From 2006 until 2011, he played a key engineering role as Kahne recorded 11 wins, 16 pole positions and two NASCAR Cup Series playoff berths (2006 and 2009).
In 2012, Rodden remained lead engineer when Kahne and Francis moved to Hendrick Motorsports. That season, he helped the driver achieve two wins, 12 top-five finishes, 19 top-10s and four pole positions en route to his third career playoff appearance. It marked Kahne’s career-best result of fourth in the championship standings. Two more wins and a fourth playoff berth followed in 2013.
Opportunity knocked for Rodden in 2014 when he was named crew chief for the No. 1 team at Chip Ganassi Racing. Under his guidance, driver Jamie McMurray won the NASCAR All-Star Race, earned two pole positions and achieved a career-best in laps led. Rodden returned to Hendrick Motorsports in November 2014 after being named crew chief for the No. 5 team.
In 2016, Rodden’s engineering background helped Kahne complete the most laps in a season of his career. In 2017, with his years of experience working alongside Kahne, Rodden looks forward to continuing the consistency with the team during his fifth overall season at Hendrick Motorsports.