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Kasey Kahne dropped by Richard Petty "effectively immediately;" Aric Almirola gets the nod

   Kasey Kahne: Gone (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

   By Mike Mulhern


    The curious case of Kasey Kahne, which has gone through a number of surprising twists this season, took another unexpected turn Wednesday night.
   When Kahne declined to get back in his car Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway, after a crash and repairs by his crew, and JJ Yeley wound up finishing the 500 for Richard Petty Motorsports, it raised eyebrows.
   Drivers don't normally walk off the job like that.

   And Wednesday night the simmering internal debate between Kahne and his crew apparently boiled over, with the team issuing a curt statement that Kahne was being released from his driving duties with the team "effective immediately."
   Aric Almirola, the up-and-coming racer who has been working hard to break into the Cup tour, will be in the Petty Ford this weekend at Martinsville Speedway…barring yet another twist.
   Kahne has complained about his cars the past few weeks. And for the past year, since George Gillett bought into the whole operation, which was built and run by Ray Evernham originally, Kahne has seemed distant from the operation.
   Of course in April Kahne and rival team owner Rick Hendrick stunned everyone by announcing they'd just signed a five-year contract to team on the NASCAR Sprint Cup tour, beginning in 2011, with Kahne set to take over Mark Martin's ride in 2012. After that surprising move festered for several months without further details about Kahne and Hendrick for 2011, Hendrick announced he's made a one-year deal with Jay Frye's Red Bull team for Kahne to drive Frye's Toyotas. Hendrick is a Chevy man; Petty/Gillett runs Fords; the original Evernham operation that Kahne first signed with ran Dodges.
   So Gillett has now lost not only the man who has been the team's lead driver for the past several years, he's also lost veteran crew chief Kenny Francis, who will be moving with Kahne to Frye's team, and he's also lost sponsor Budweiser.
    What happens to the Petty-Gillett-Robbie Loomis team next is unclear.
   What happens to Kahne is also unclear, though it would be logical for Kahne to take over one of Frye's cars soon.


  Aric Almirola, who was Jeff Gordon's standby in July, is now Kasey Kahne's replacement with Ford's Richard Petty Motorsports (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

I sure hope Rick Hendrick

I sure hope Rick Hendrick knows what he's in for in 2012. Kasey has proven more than once that if he's not happy he won't perform to his potential.

Congratulations to all... -

Congratulations to all...

- Kasey Kahne needed the break to focus on 2011
- RPM needed the break for the same reason, especially when there is "supposedly" a future opening for a 3rd team (depending on sponsorship)
- And Aric Almirola needs to be in top equipment. A proven talent. And the way Fords are running right now. Right place. Right time.

I believe Aric will make a difference right away at Martinsville & Talladega. He has shown promise a couple of years ago at Bristol, finishing 8th and started 3rd at Martinsville too. At Talladega, drafted well with Kyle Busch in the truck race to push him to victory and drafts good in the Cup series also.

It maybe a running joke, like Mark Martin with Viagra, but Petty's group, should really push for the Latin based food company GOYA to sponsor him. He's Cuban, bilingual, seems to work well with sponsors from seeing his on camera interviews and on track abilities. I betcha Budweiser is drooling marketing wise as he'll be "hopefully" racing at 3 heavily Latino/Spanish markets Texas, Phoenix and Homestead. I remember Richard Petty once said, "In racing, it's sometimes better to be lucky than to be good". For Almirola, he might be getting a taste of both.

Pass it on to the Petty folks Mike...Let's see what happens!

Follow the money, cause

Follow the money, cause that's what these changes are all about for RPM.

Kahne lost a lot of

Kahne lost a lot of credibility in my eyes when he blew a front tire a few weeks ago and hauled-the-mail all the way around the track till the tire came apart and then tore everything up. usually when a tire blows the driver tries to go as carefully around the track to preserve the sheet metal. I like him so I wasn't looking for the faults in him, but I even thought it was out of character. Disgruntled employees are the same around the world, once they plan on leaving you are better off separating then. Not getting back in the car just solidifies my opinion of the situation. In the article it talks about the cars and how bad they are, but he's taking his crew chief with him, either they are keeping him out of info meetings and that why they are running bad or he's part of the problem also. Petty Motorsports will need to regroup, but I would rather compete with a bunch of people pulling the same direction rather than distractions. Good Luck to all!

Uttsman 66

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Ditto. Kandy Kahne will roll

Ditto. Kandy Kahne will roll over on a team as soon as he gets his panties wadded up.

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