The conjecture over where Kasey Kahne will be driving next season can finally stop as it was announced that he'll will drive for Red Bull Racing in 2011 before taking over the No. 5 car for Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.
It seems odd that Kahne would drive Toyota for a season before jumping into a Chevrolet, but Stewart Haas and Phoenix Racing didn't have the funding and sponsorship, leaving Hendrick's options limited without loaning him to a true Chevrolet rival such as Richard Childress Racing or Earnhardt-Ganassi.
Where Kahne might fit in at Red Bull wasn't exactly clear. Brian Vickers' status remains in question. He has been out most of the season with a blood condition, but is hopeful of returning to the seat of the No. 83 car next year. Vickers had a breakout season in 2009, reaching the Chase for the first time with a career high 13 top 10s.
Then there's Scott Speed , who has yet to make a real impact in his second full-time season. Will he get a third season?
Or could Kahne be in line for a third seat at Red Bull?
Press release follows:
MOORESVILLE, N.C. — Kasey Kahne will drive a Red Bull Racing Team Toyota in 2011, the team announced Tuesday.
“We were fortunate to have the opportunity to hire a very talented driver for the 2011 season and we took it,” said Jay Frye, Red Bull Racing Team Vice President and General Manager. “This is a unique situation that doesn’t happen every day. Kasey is a perfect fit for our company, team and Red Bull.”
Kahne, 30, owns an impressive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series résumé. He has 11 wins, 17 poles, 47 top-five and 84 top-10 finishes and twice was a Chase participant in 2006 and 2009.
“This opportunity places me with an established, competitive team that has proven they can win races and make the Chase,” Kahne said. “I have great respect for Red Bull, so to have the opportunity to drive for Red Bull Racing Team in 2011 is a great fit for me, both personally and professionally. It feels good to be able to finally put this to rest and focus my energy on finishing the season strong for the 9 team and our sponsors.”
“This obviously all happened very quickly,” Frye added. “Over the next month, we will finalize the specific team details.” Red Bull Racing Team’s final driver lineup for 2011 will be confirmed later this year.