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Kahne hasn’t driven a Ford lately…but he may drive one soon

By admin | September 28, 2009

By Richard Allen

Of all the end of season wrangling and maneuvering the story that is easily the most intriguing to me is the proposed merger between Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing. The reason for the intrigue revolves around Kasey Kahne and his possible reunification with Ford Motor Company.

At one time Kahne was the golden child of Ford. He had been snapped up by the auto maker and placed in their development program with an ultimate goal of making him into a Sprint Cup superstar. Well, as it turns out, Kahne has indeed become a racing star, just not in the way originally planned.

In 2002 and 2003 Kahne drove Fords on the Busch Series for Yates Racing and Brad Akins. However, in 2004 things changed for both the driver and the auto maker as Kahne ended his relationship with Ford and became the full time driver in the #9 Sprint Cup Dodge fielded by Ray Evernham.

The problem for all involved was there were issues that had to be worked out and the dissolution of the Kahne/Ford relationship was not one easily resolved. Ford believed they had a binding contract with the driver and expected him to honor it. Kahne, on the other hand, saw an opportunity to move the NASCAR’s ultimate level sooner than planned and went with that option.

In the end, lawyers had to be brought in to bring about a final ending to the matter. Needless to say, the divorce between Ford and Kahne was not a pleasant one. There were plenty of hard feelings on both sides.

Now, with the RPM-Yates merger possibly taking place in 2010, Kahne could be back behind the wheel of a Ford. So, there are some interesting questions going into this new formation.

Can bygones be bygones for the two sides? Can they move forward despite the disagreeable way they broke up? Will Ford be willing to support and market their new driver?

Considering the not-so-business-friendly economic climate in the sport today, RPM and Yates are probably glad to simply remain in place as going concerns. And, with the season Ford has had in 2009 since the first two races of the year, they are probably glad to add someone, anyone, who has the capability to win races.

The original relationship between Ford and Kasey Kahne came to a sour ending. Perhaps this time around the two will have a longer and more productive time together.

Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.

Topics: Articles |

4 Responses to “Kahne hasn’t driven a Ford lately…but he may drive one soon”

  1. Jerry Mallard Says:
    September 29th, 2009 at 6:27 am

    There was a lot more to this story… Yates/ Ford did not uphold their end of the bargain and they lost in court.

  2. midasmicah Says:
    September 29th, 2009 at 11:15 am

    I didn’t know there was a ford in nas$car. Sorry for the sarcasm.

  3. David Pearson Says:
    September 29th, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    He had an agreement, just like the Busch brothers, it just shows their true colors. A total like of character!

  4. Ronnie B Says:
    September 30th, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Kahne staying with RPM after 2010 will be a wishful thinking for the King. There has been so many changes/mergers going on over the last 2-3 years and throw this sour Ford apple in the mix and who would want to stay. Now broken engines and a Saudi Prince deal. Enough is enough. Too many distractions. Kahne will leave and hopefully head to Stewart-Haas with Kenny Francis.