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Could Kahne land at JR Motorsports in 2011?

By admin | April 13, 2010

By Richard Allen

The news has been broken by multiple sources that driver Kasey Kahne will leave Richard Petty Motorsports at the end of the 2010 season. He is slated to join Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 after Mark Martin’s contract as the driver of car #5 expires.

With Kahne’s contract at RPM expiring at the end of this season, the question is where will he drive in 2011?

Here is a thought. Might he become the first Sprint Cup driver for JR Motorsports?

There are three pieces to the puzzle that make this at least a possibility. First, HMS and JR Motorsports are already closely aligned. Second, the JR Motorsports shop is easily capable of housing a Sprint Cup team. And perhaps most intriguing of all, such a deal would allow Kahne’s sponsor, Budweiser, to realign itself with JR Motorsports’s owner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

Budweiser had been a long time sponsor of Earnhardt’s when he drove the #8 car for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. When Junior left that team for HMS, he and Bud were forced to split as Mountain Dew and Amp Energy Drink were brought on to back his new ride.

Budweiser found Kahne to carry their banner in 2008. No doubt, the massive brewery would prefer not to have to begin a new relationship with another driver, so keeping Kahne in the fold would seem to make sense. And, they would no doubt relish the opportunity to rejoin the sport’s most popular driver, even in the role as a pseudo team owner.

Granted, there seemed to be some issue that kept Bud out of HMS in 2008, but these are new and different times. And, technically at least, they would not be sponsoring a Hendrick car in such a deal.

In the past, Earnhardt has denied rumors that his team would field Sprint Cup cars. However, that was in the past. Perhaps, now would be the time for such a thing to occur. And more, a team could then be in place for Danica Patrick or some other driver to assume in 2012.

Much speculation already has Kahne driving for Stewart-Haas Racing in 2011 as he waits out Martin’s farewell. But, a union between Kahne and Junior does not seem so outlandish, especially when the Budweiser/Junior angle is considered.

Follow @RacingWithRich on twitter.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly columns appear in The Mountain Press and The Knoxville Journal.

Topics: Articles |

15 Responses to “Could Kahne land at JR Motorsports in 2011?”

  1. mkrcr Says:
    April 13th, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Although I really don’t want to see Kahne dance with the Hendrick devil, I really want to see him have a quality ride after his loyalty to a failing effort. I’ve often thought he would be a good fit for SHR but the risk of an upstart team, after all he’s been through, may be to much. Kasey is a class driver, on and off the track, and deserves all the good he can get.

  2. zhills fan Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Regardless where he goes it will be better than where he is now. Stewart, Jr.. Hendricks, it makes no difference, he still will be driving for Hendricks just like all the other above mentioned drive for.

  3. Charles Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 5:49 am

    I know it probably would not happen, but I would like to see Jr GO TO Richard Petty Motorsports!

    They could mabe do a remake of his daddys no 15 Wrangler Ford, like he won races with Bud Moore in early eighties!

    Dont see how Jr could worse than he is doing now!!!!!!!!!

  4. Dan Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Allen, it is bad enough when people reporting on NASCAR refuse to look at the SHR/HMS relationship head on and realize that Rick is making a mockery of the 4 car per owner rule, but now you suggest JR Motorsports? Get over yourself with Junior. Rick Hendrick is Majoriey owner of JR Motorsports, with Dale given part of his shares to Tony Eury Jr. and his sister. JR Motorsports is a NATIONWIDE series deal and always will be. That is why Rick bought the thing to begin with. To Keep Junior from leaving HMS and starting his own company thus taking all of that money with him.

  5. midasmicah Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Hendricks-Stewart’s domination is NOT good for a sport that’s having problems keeping fans. This is akin to living on the west coast and being force fed the Yankees five days a week on tv. nas$car is even more different then other sports in one respect. Fans are fanatical about their drivers. I don’t root for a Hendricks driver so therefore there’s no love from the media. And don’t tell me that if I don’t like it, don’t watch it. I might just take them up on it. You cannot have one big team rule the sport because you’re basicly telling the fans of the other teams drivers that they don’t count.

  6. yankeegranny Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 9:30 am

    I think lost in this whole mishmash is DANICA. Wasn’t the whole idea for Mark to keep the seat warm for her?? If that seat is now going to KK ( who I really don’t think is one of the top drivers) , where does that leave DANICA? I think Bud would be salivating at the thought of being associated with JR again. Figure the commercials with him in them again. I think with the problems JRM has had this year with the lack of sponsorship and their driver problems, it’s time to bite the bullet and move up to Cup. Especially with all the big bucks that Bud can bring to the table. Also what is the deal with Jaime Mac? Could JR be looking down the road to a SHR setup with KK,(Bud) JM( burger King) and Danica(go daddy). Interesting possibilities, lots of dollar signs in that trio and noone ever said Kelly and JR were dumb where money is concerned.

  7. Marybeth Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 9:38 am

    I wanna know what is going to happen to Mark Martin

  8. Ritchie Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Later Kasey. To me he is a high dollar cry baby spoiled brat. RPM is better off with out him.

  9. Irritated Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I read the 7 comments (as of the time I am typing this). I guess 5 out of 7 isnt bad. How hard is it, for NASCAR fans to realize the name is Hendrick! Rick Hendrick! Not Hendricks/Hendrix/Hendrick’s….. And we wonder why “main stream” people think NASCAR fans are so stupid….you fools make us all look dumb! say it with me now: Hen - drick. Hen - drick.

  10. Ritchie Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    Hendick it is then. Chevy nascar circle jerk.

  11. Not 5 for 48 Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    Hey Ritchie a article I read said 1 of the reasons Kahne took the Hendrick Deal is that RPM might not be in business in 6 months time.

  12. Marcus Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Everyone commenting on here thinks they have Hendrick’s master plan all figured out. I have a bunch of theories as well (Most crazy) as well, but I can honestly say that until it all plays out I have no idea what Rick has up his sleeves.
    I do hope that when this is all said and done it involves Earnhardt being the odd man out. I feel very strongly that Earnhardt, with all of the money he brings in, deserves to get the best personnell an organization has to offer.

  13. mkrcr Says:
    April 14th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    The proper spelling may as well be Lord Hendrick.

  14. JONATHAN Says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 8:06 am


  15. Steve Says:
    April 15th, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    Why doesn’t Hendrick own all 43 cars and be done with it. Its going in that direction anyway. I hate to say this, but maybe franchising is needed in this sport now.