Thursday, October 21, 2010
A little before ten o'clock on Wednesday at night, a press release dropped that surprised some and did not surprise others. Indeed, Richard Petty Motorsports released Kasey Kahne from driving the number nine Budweiser Ford Fusion for the remaining five races of the season.
The beginnings of this came last Saturday during the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway when Kahne's braking system seemed to fail (later it was found as a braking fluid issue). The handling of the car was frustrating to Kasey and the nine team, who had been at the top of the board in the final two practices. Kahne and his team began that race with high hopes, which came crashing down when Kasey's car spun in turn four. After limping the ill-handling car to the garage, Kahne got out of his car; he had not felt well before the race.
This is where it all went downhill. An unidentified Richard Petty Motorsports member told Kahne "to start doing his part." Kahne left and never returned to the number nine. JJ Yeley completed the race for him.
The next day, Kasey ran his 5 Kahne to raise money for his Kasey Kahne Foundation. After running in that race, he adressed the media, saying, "I can't control that as a driver. I'm doing my part; I just need the car. I work as hard as anybody out there."
When given the possibility about switching to Red Bull Racing (where he is headed for the 2011 season) early, Kahne thought for a moment and replied with "I don't think so. I doubt it."
Monday morning, Robbie Loomis, Vice President of Competition at Richard Petty Motorsports, adressed the media. He accused the Budweiser driver of not being able to handle adversity and because of that, he was not championship material. Whether Kahne heard this or not, we will never know.
Kahne is headed to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 after a year at Red Bull Racing. Sure, he is anticipating better equipment and a better season. Can you blame a man for that after the season that he has had? He is winless with three poles and a handful of top-tens. But, he is the only one who has dealt with this braking system.
So, when the press release dropped, it was official; Kasey Kahne is done driving the nine Budweiser For Fusion for RPM. His plans? Red Bull Racing has signed him on to finish out the season in Brian Vickers' 83. Originally, Aric Amirola was to drive the 83, but will now drive the nine for RPM.
It seems as though this mess is over. Or we could only hope, at least.
Photo credit: www.Kaseykahne.com