(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
Richared Petty Motorsports has released Kasey Kahne from his contract effective immediately, the team announced Wednesday evening. On Thursday, Red Bull Racing announced that they will be putting Kahne into the #83 Red Bull Toyota for this weekend’s race at Martinsville, and for the rest of the 2010 season.
RPM announced Kahne was out of the #9 Budweiser Ford effective immediately, and Aric Almirola would drive the car this weekend at Martinsville Speedway. Almirola had been on NASCAR’s entry list to drive the #83 Toyota for Red Bull. But the plans apparently were scrapped after Kahne’s blowup Saturday night, when his brakes failed at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Kahne exploded in anger on the radio when his brakes failed for the third time this season, second time in two races. It led to a wreck with Sam Hornish Jr., and then Kahne refused to get back in the car after it was repaired. He cited illness for not going back on the track, and the team used J.J. Yeley to finish the race.
For Kahne, the Martinsville weekend allows him to get acclimated with Red Bull Racing Team cars and personnel. He, crew chief Jimmy Elledge and the No. 83 crew open the weekend with practice Friday at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Kahne had reportedly been squabbling with RPM officials in recent weeks. On Saturday night, he refused to get back into the car after it was fixed because of a crash. He said he was ill and that was the reason he did not get back into the car.
With the bombshell announcement by RPM Wednesday night, there may be a few more handgrenades detonating over the next few days. With Kahne out of the #9Budweiser Ford, that might allow Marcus Ambrose to leave JTG/Daugherty Racing #47 Toyota early and jump into the RPM #9 Budweiser Ford for the last five races of this season. In light of all these potential switches, this would also allow Bobby Labonte the chance to get into his 2011 ride in the #47 JTG/Daugherty Toyota a little early, as well!
The pieces of the puzzle are beginning to fall out of the sky rapidly, now it is up to the team owners to grab them quickly, and reassemble them into some orderly place within their respective race teams!
What is your take on this latest development?
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!