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ThatsRacin.com


Kahne going to Red Bull for 2011 NASCAR season?

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Sunday, Aug. 08, 2010

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Red Bull Racing has emerged as the likely place for Kasey Kahne in the 2011 Sprint Cup season, the Observer and ThatsRacin.com have learned.

Under a proposed arrangement, Kahne would drive one of Red Bull Racing’s Toyota’s next season as he waits to take over Hendrick’s No. 5 Chevrolet in 2012, sources close to the situation confirmed Sunday.

Mark Martin, as he has maintained since news of Kahne’s signing by Hendrick became public in April, would drive the No. 5 next season, his last with Hendrick.

Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing’s general manager, would neither confirm nor deny his organization has been in discussions with Hendrick Motorsports to have Kahne drive a Red Bull car next season.

"Kasey is under contract with Hendrick Motorsports next year. That is a question for Hendrick," Frye said before Sunday's Heluva Good! at the Glen.

Sources maintained that the deal to put Kahne at Red Bull has not been completed, but insisted that it is the most viable option for the 30-year-old driver from Enumclaw, Wash.

An HMS spokesman declined to comment on the Kahne-to-Red Bull scenario after Sunday's race.

Kahne's agent did not respond to a request for comment.

HMS announced April 14 that Kahne had signed a multiyear deal to drive for Hendrick, but because the organization already fields the NASCAR-maximum four Cup teams Kahne would have to drive somewhere else in 2011.

Team owner Rick Hendrick has maintained it was his responsibility to find a ride for Kahne in the interim.

As recently as two weeks ago, Kahne said he trusted Hendrick to find him a quality ride.

"If I didn't trust (Hendrick), I'd have to be asking (the media) what the new news is," Kahne said.

"But I don't have to. I trust that he'll give me an awesome opportunity, whatever car it is."

In six-plus seasons in Cup, Kahne has 11 wins, 17 poles, 47 top-five and 84 top-10 finishes in 238 starts.

Red Bull currently fields Toyotas for Scott Speed and Brian Vickers in the Cup series. However, Vickers has not been driving since May, when he was diagnosed with a blood condition.

An official announcement announcing Kahne's move to the Red Bull organization in 2011 is expected on Tuesday.