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Kasey Kahne? Is he moving to Rick Hendrick's camp, or perhaps Tony Stewart's? And Gillett's next move?

  Kasey Kahne: Moving on for 2011? Can Rick Hendrick find room for him, or maybe Tony Stewart? (Photo: Autostock)


   By Mike Mulhern

   Kasey Kahne isn't saying anything, but reports are that he may be leaving the Ford camp at the end of the season and moving to Chevrolet's Rick Hendrick operation.
   Kahne is in the final year of his contract with George Gillett's team, Richard Petty Motorsports. And Kahne, for several months now, has been noncommittal about what he might do in 2011.
   The quiet-spoken Kahne, who just turned 30 last week, has 11 Cup tour wins since joining the tour in 2004. His best run this season was a fourth at Atlanta, where he led 144 laps. His last tour victory was at that Atlanta track last summer, and he's currently mired 26th in the Sprint Cup standings.
   If Kahne does move on, then the Gillett operation would be losing its biggest draw. Gillett's other Cup drivers are Elliott Sadler, Paul Menard (acquired in the merger with Ford's Doug Yates) and AJ Allmendinger.
   One significant question would be sponsor Anheuser-Busch, which currently backs the Kahne team.
   Kahne would certainly fit the Hendrick mold of non-controversial drivers.
    But how Hendrick might fit him into the lineup is unclear. Jeff Gordon has a lifetime contract with Hendrick; Jimmie Johnson's contract runs through 2015; Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in his third season with Hendrick, in a five-year deal; and Mark Martin has a contract through 2011.
   NASCAR limits owners to just four teams.
   However Hendrick has a satellite operation with Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman (who just won Phoenix), providing engineering support. Stewart has so far ruled out expanding to a three-car operation; however there has been speculation for months that if Stewart were to expand, Kahne would be the man he'd like to have.
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    Team owner George Gillett: what next, if star driver Kasey Kahne moves on at the end of the season? (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

Put Kahne in the #88 and move

Put Kahne in the #88 and move Jr. to the Nationwide Series. It would be the best move Hendrick has made since landing the Wonder Twins: Jeff and Jimmie.

Ouch! I'll let you put that

Ouch! I'll let you put that option up to Mr. Hendrick.....

So, the Silly Season begins

So, the Silly Season begins after the 7th race, eh? OK. I'm in.
I'm sure each contract has a buy out clause and a retirement clause. Jeff Gordon seems to have quelled the retirement rumors after his back surgery and his improved performance this year. Li'l E is a cash cow and having his best season in years, so I doubt that Rick Hendrick would let him go. But maybe he would if Junior tanks later this season and his sponsors revolt. After Jimmy Johnson wins his 5th championship this year, I see him and Chad Knaus both getting "lifetime" contracts. That leaves Mark Martin. Is he ready to re-retire?
I'd really like to see Kahne stay where he is. Paul Menard is showing some really good progress after the first part of this year. How about this for a twist? Kevin Harvick gets his fill of frustration at Childress and brings Shell to Gillett to outs Sadler. With all the tallent Harvick, Kahne and Menard and all the money from Shell, Bud and Menards, Gillett could build one heck of a team.
It's worth a though, right? After all, it's a long silly season.

this is a little unreal....i

this is a little unreal....i agree. how is a crew supposed to take it that the driver is leaving, in seven months....
my question is how did ford motor company lose yet another star driver to chevrolet?
Gillett? Man, i'm afraid he bought in high to all those sports investments, and now he's struggling to keep it all together....
Harvick? Now that's a good question: obviously he's now the top player in the Gibbs' plan for a fourth team. Gibbs wants KK....though how such a mild mannered guy would fit in with that bunch of rowdies i dont understand....

So HMS is replacing the over

So HMS is replacing the over aged with another over rated!

well, i agree that the

well, i agree that the verdict on KK is still mixed, even after six-plus years. he's good on some tracks, mediocre on others. but the downsides: no personality, no pzzazz....but then maybe that's just what RH wants. I think Junior ought to pack up and leave and go to RC's and just play kickass racer.....

Thank you!~ I have not heard

Thank you!~ I have not heard Jr. mentioned once in all this, but had heard he might move on if he didn't step up his game. Time for him to leave Hendrick, one hugely failed experiment

My bet on how this plays is:

My bet on how this plays is: Mark Martin will step out of #5 Car and Kasey Kahne will step in to the #5 for 2011. Mark and the entire crew, sponsors, and crew chief will move to Stewart Haas Racing. Mark will race 2011 Full Time for SHR and Part-Time in 2012 sharing the ride with Danica. AND I believe that Mark's team at SHR will be the fourth team as I also predict that Shell and Kevin Harvick are all but done as the third team at SHR. Rick will fully support and fund the Mark Martin Ride and as Rick has stated the #5 car is his unless he decides it's not. That tells me Rick has talked with Mark and Mark will step from the #4 to the "new" SHR Ride. What difference would it make to him since the crew and crew chief will be the same. Just my guess!

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