According to multiple reports, Scott Speed will not return to Red Bull in 2011, keeping the organization at two teams with the expected return of Brian Vickers and the addition of Kasey Kahne next season.
Speed has made 71 starts in the Sprint Cup Series with just three top 10s. He has shown some improvement in his second full season -- he has just 2 DNFs this year vs. 8 DNFs in 2009 and ranks 28th after finishing 35th last season -- but apparently not enough for Red Bull to believe he's got it in him to take a significant leap forward.
Kahne will make his first start at Red Bull this weekend at Martinsville, after gaining his release from Richard Petty Motorsports on Wednesday. He'll drive the No. 83 car the remainder of the season, but give it back up to Vickers, who has been out since May because of blood clots.
Next year, Vickers should be back in the No. 83, but Kahne will not be in the No. 82. According to the Associated Press, Kahne will drive a car with the No. 4, which is the number Kahne uses on his sprint cars.
Crew chief Kenny Francis will join Kahne at Red Bull next year, but it's expected he'll remain with RPM through the remainder of the season.
In related news, Marcos Ambrose , who is scheduled to take Kahne's spot at RPM next year, is not expected to get a head start on that relationship as JTG Daugherty co-owner Tad Geschickter told The Sporting News that sponsor and promotional obligations are preventing his relase.
But with the reported financial issues dogging RPM, it might not be in Ambrose's best interests to run over there at the moment.
-- Brian De Los Santos