Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rick Hendrick makes it official: Kasey Kahne to Red Bull in 2011 for one year deal, surprised?

As each NASCAR track is beginning to roll out their 2011 NASCAR schedule, I would have thought that those pieces of news would be huge, however after last night’s so-called breaking news on both SPEED’s Race Hub and NASCAR Now that reports put Kasey Kahne at Red Bull in 2011, I knew this week would be interesting, but I didn’t think that I would be this shocked at one move, especially a move that doesn’t make sense to me.

In a press release early this morning, Red Bull Racing announced that Kasey Kahne will drive Red Bull Toyota in 2011. 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. (Red Bull PR)

After this mornings announcement, Rick Hendrick had this to say "Kasey is going to a competitive organization that made the Chase last season and has great leadership and resources," said Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "Of everything we looked at, he and I agree it's the best opportunity for him to be successful in 2011, which was always our number-one priority.

"The process went on longer than any of us anticipated, but I'm glad that we took our time to make sure it was right. And although I'm not looking forward to racing against him next year, I'm comfortable knowing this is the best situation for Kasey." (Hendrick PR)

And @KaseyKahne said on Twitter: Looking forward to driving for red bull in 2011. Its going to be awesome!
Wow, like I said above I was pretty shocked that Rick Hendrick would want Kasey Kahne to drive for Red Bull next season and then move him to the #5 Hendrick Chevrolet in 2012. Now some might say why are you so shocked considering the news broke last night.

As a NASCAR fan and a blogger, I tend to dismiss most published reports especially ones that have no logic behind them. The words “Published reports say” or “sources confirm” doesn’t mean anything to me, it’s not news unless it’s announced or made official by the actually person or in this case the team.

The second reason for me being shocked is that for 2011, Kasey Kahne will be driving a Toyota despite the fact that Kahne is signed to drive for Chevrolet in 2012. Of course this means that Kahne will have driven for Dodge in the past several seasons, Ford now in 2010, Toyota next season and Chevrolet in 2012, boy Kahne is making his rounds to all of the car manufacturers in NASCAR. And here I thought that manufacturers keep their star drivers exclusive.

And third, why would Red Bull Racing want Kasey Kahne for one year? That’s the main part that doesn’t make sense to me. I understand and realize that Red Bull Racing has been going through a tight time with Scott Speed running in the back of the pack this year and Brian Vickers out for the season for medical reasons. But why would the team want to have to develop chemistry with Kahne for one year and then turn around and develop chemistry with another drive in 2012.

But you have to hand it to Rick Hendrick, he is a man of his word and he told Kahne that he would find his a ride next season and he did, but nothing that I thought of.

And now that Kahne’s plans have been made official, I believe that several media members owe Mark Martins an appoligy for “disrespecting him” and calling him out for wanting to drive the #5 car next season for Hendrick Motorsports. That is terrible when some media members disrespected Mark Martin, he has been in NASCAR for decades now and is one of the most respected drivers on track and in the garage area and he didn’t deserve what he got.

Good luck to Kahne and Martin in 2011, next season should be a good year for both drivers. And good luck to Kasey Kahne fans as well, I feel for you, you now will most likely have to buy new Kahne gear for next season and in 2012 has he will be with different teams in both years. Wow, Kahne drove for Dodge from 2003-2009, Ford in 2010, Toyota in 2011 and Chevrolet in 2012.

Photo Credit: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images for NASCAR via NASCARmedia