Kasey Kahne was released from Richard Petty Motorsports on
Wednesday night, clearing the way for him to join Red Bull Racing
for the final five races of the season.
RPM announced Kahne was out of the No. 9 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 No. 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 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
Although Kahne said he did throw up Saturday night, he was well
enough to participate in a 5K run for his foundation the next
”I lost it,” he said after his run. ”I was just mad. I came
into the race thinking we had a shot to win, thinking we had a good
car in practice, we had a good shot. It went green. We were a
little bit tight, but still actually passed cars and really felt
good and then boom, my brakes are gone.
”It’s not like you have half-brakes, like you can pump them.
Your foot goes to the floor. It bottoms out. It’s a joke.”
The release brings an early end to a rocky final two years in
Kahne’s tenure with the team. He said this spring he would drive
for Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, and he recently decided to drive
for Red Bull next season as a one-year stopgap until he can succeed
Mark Martin in the No. 5 car.
Kahne has gone through phases of discontent with his race team
since initial owner Ray Evernham sold majority interest to George
Gillett Jr. The team underwent a myriad of changes, Evernham
eventually left the organization, and what was left merged with
Petty Enterprises before last season.
Kahne and crew chief Kenny Francis spent all of last season
working as if they were a single-car team, tuning out the
distractions of Gillett’s financial issues and RPM’s struggles. It
worked to some degree as Kahne won two races and made the Chase for
the Sprint Cup championship.
Kahne hasn’t had the same success this season. He is winless and
ranked 21st in the standings. It became clear Saturday night that
the relationship with RPM was severed.
”I’m not going to say names, but I was told that I need to
start doing my part,” he said of an unnamed RPM employee. ”I
can’t control the issues I’ve had this year. I don’t know how many
parts I’ve broke. If I really thought about it, I could come up
with all kinds of stuff.
”You can’t control that as a driver. I’m doing my part. I just
need the car. I work as hard as anybody out there.”
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