In April we learned that Kasey Kahne had signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports to take over for Mark Martin as driver of the #5. The only problem with the deal was that Mark Martin wasn’t set to retire until after the completion of the 2011 season and Kahne’s contract would not begin with HMS until 2012.
With Kahne leaving Richard Petty Motorsports at the conclusion of the 2010 season we all started speculating where Kahne would land in 2011. Many, including myself, speculated that Kasey would move to a third team for Stewart-Haas Racing because of their affiliation with Hendrick Motorsports.
Today we “officially” learned that Kahne will pilot one of the Red Bull Racing cars in 2011. What we don’t yet know is which car it will be or who his teammate on the two car team will be. Below you will find the press release from Red Bull Racing, but before you dive into that tell us what you think of the news.
Who do you think is leaving? Speed or Vickers? Could Vickers need additional time off and this is RBR’s way of keeping his seat open if that’s the case? Does Kasey Kahne look like the Red Bull drinking guy any more than he looks like the Budweiser drinking guy? Is this one year deal unfair to the existing Red Bull Racing drivers or would one of them be leaving even if Kasey wasn’t coming?
Okay, here’s that release:
MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Kasey Kahne will drive a Red Bull Racing Team Toyota in 2011, the team announced Tuesday.
“We were fortunate to have the opportunity to hire a very talented driver for the 2011 season and we took it,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team Vice President and General Manager. “This is a unique situation that doesn’t happen every day. Kasey is a perfect fit for our company, team and Red Bull.”
Kahne, 30, owns an impressive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series résumé. He has 11 wins, 17 poles, 47 top-five and 84 top-10 finishes and twice was a Chase participant in 2006 and 2009.
“This opportunity places me with an established, competitive team that has proven they can win races and make the Chase,” Kahne said. “I have great respect for Red Bull, so to have the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing Team in 2011 is a great fit for me, both personally and professionally. It feels good to be able to finally put this to rest and focus my energy on finishing the season strong for the 9 team and our sponsors.”
“This obviously all happened very quickly,” Frye added. “Over the next month, we will finalize the specific team details.”
Red Bull Racing Team’s final driver lineup for 2011 will be confirmed later this year.