CONCORD, N.C. - Could a possible move to Toyota have delayed the development of the new Dodge engine at Richard Petty Motorsports?
According to RPM driver Kasey Kahne, that was one of several possible answers he's heard to his questions about RPM's development of the engine, which is already being used by Penske Racing.
"It depends on who you talk to. Some people say Dodge, some people say money, some people say we're taking a break and going to Toyota," the driver told reporters Monday at Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"There's all different ways to look at it and say, 'Why aren’t we running it?’ I have my own theory on it all, but it's just a theory."
Officials with the RPM organization were not immediately available for comment.
Kahne has said that he intends to fulfill his contract at RPM, which expires at the end of 2010, but if he were to re-sign with the organization he'd want to be certain his team could win races and compete for championships.
Only in the last few weeks, Kahne said, has he gotten the sense that problems are being adequately addressed by the organization.
"They're starting to listen, but my concerns have been the same for a while. Sometimes, early in the year and the end of last year, I'd tell them my concerns and they'd look at you, it would go in one ear and out the other and they'd go about their day," he said.
"In the last three weeks they have really started to think about it and said, 'Our cars are really heavy and our engines really don't run' and they're starting to work on it. It's not like all this just happened."
Kahne, 29, won both the Coca-Cola 600 and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race in 2008, but this season has two top-10 finishes in the first 10 races and is 17th in points. His best finish in the past five races was a 13th.
"I think all of our guys on the team are frustrated right now," he said. "AJ (Allmendinger) was frustrated after qualifying (at Richmond), Elliott (Sadler) is frustrated.
"I think Reed (Sorenson) has been doing pretty well. He hasn't been fast, but he's been getting a good finish – the best finish he can. I think Reed has been doing the best job out of all four of us in the last two to three weeks. Not because of speed, but because things have worked out for him and he's been in the right place."