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Kasey Kahne On The Move
April 14, 2010 - Al Stephenson
In yet another story of the rich getting richer, Hendrick Motor Sports signed Kasey Kahne to a contract. Kahne, who's contract with Richard Petty Motorsports ends this season, will drive the No. 5, currently piloted by ageless Mark Martin, beginning in 2012.
The marriage seems like it will be a good one. The problem is that Kahne is finished with RPM this season, while Martin has a contract that runs through 2011 with HMS. Rick Hendrick is willing to wait a year and even put in the contract that he will be responsible for finding a ride for Kahne next season. He can't start a new team as he is already at the four team limit. So what is going to happen? Time will tell but the rumors are already flying.
Kahne, a native of Washington, has actually raced at Attica Raceway Park. Though only 30, he is a veteran of the sprint cup series and will be racing somewhere next summer. Here is the best rumor that I have heard.
Tony Stewart has toyed with the idea of starting a third team at Newman-Haas Racing. He could add a team next year and get the services of Kahne for one season. In 2012, when Kahne heads for Hendrick, Mark Martin will race the car part time splitting the ride with - ready for this - Danica Patrick.
That move would give Martin the job of tutoring Danica and give her a chance to see if she can make the move to Sprint Cup racing. If Mark Martin finally decides that he is too old to race competitively and Patrick doesn't show enough to get the ride full time, then Stewart looks for a young upcoming driver to put behind the wheel. The whole thing is not that far fetched.
The view from my seat suggests that it is too early to determine if Danica Patrick will ever cut it in Nascar. She is a good race car driver. She is a marketing gold mine and it would make sense to give her the chance to make it. I hope she does, but the landscape is littered with good drivers that never made it in the big show.
My view also suggests that Mark Martin will eventually retire, though he should be in no hurry as he is still very competitive. Finally I think Kasey Kahne will be a star at Hendrick eventually replacing Jeff Gordon as Jimmie Johnson's main sidekick.
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