Various media reports have stated that Kasey Kahne, Number 9 Budweiser sponsored NASCAR Sprint Cup race car, is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports and moving to Hendrick Motorsports. RPM confirmed Kahne’s departure from the association at the conclusion of this year’s contract season.
Kahne has been with RPM since the year 2004 when he made his debut in NASCAR. He went on to win Rookie of the Year in 2004 as well as 79 Top 10 finishes, 43 Top 5 finishes and 11 wins. He also has gained 16 poles in 223 starts.
Kahne signed and approved a multi-year agreement with HMS to start in 2012. Next year is uncertain of where Kahne will be. There has been speculation that a third car may be added to Stewart-Haas Racing, but no official statement.
It has also been said that Kahne will take the place of Mark Martin behind the wheel of the Number 5 car. However, Martin’s contract is through the end of the 2011 season. When moving to RPM, 30-year-old Kahne will join three popular drivers – Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. – all of which are under a signed contract beyond 2011. NASCAR does not allow for a team to have more than four drivers, so it is likely that Mark Martin will be leaving HMS. No official statements have been made regarding this though.
As for his sponsor, Budweiser, will they find another driver to support or will the sponsorship move with Kahne when he leaves RPM and moves to Hendrick?
Yet, the main question still remains, where will Kasey Kahne race for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season? Will he join as a third driver on Stewart-Haas Racing with Tony Stewart (owner and driver) and Ryan Newman (driver)? As for SHR, they have not ruled out a third car to their team.
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