CONCORD, N.C. – Leavine Family Racing has confirmed that Kasey Kahne will sit out the next three Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races.

Kahne opted to sit out Monday’s Big Machine Vodka 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after suffering from severe heat exhaustion the previous weekend during the Southern 500 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

The 38-year-old driver, who announced earlier this year he’d be retiring from full-time NASCAR competition at season’s end, explained in a conference call last week that he’d been battling heat exhaustion issues for more than a year and that it played a role in his decision to retire.

“I didn’t start having problems until last year,” said Kahne. “I don’t really know why that is, and we’re trying to figure that out. I can’t control the temperature in my body, and my heart rate, at a certain point (late in the race). Once it gets to that point, there’s nothing I can do until I get out of the car. That’s why I’m not racing this weekend. I don’t want to create any more damage to myself.”

Regan Smith drove Kahne’s No. 95 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 during Monday’s Big Machine Vodka 400, finishing 20th. Smith will continue to drive the No. 95 during the next three events at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway, Richmond (Va.) Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.

Kahne will continue to work with his physicians on a plan for his health so that he can return to the No. 95 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 before the end of the season.