By Toby Christie (Originally appeared on RubbingsRacing.com)
ESPN’s Marty Smith is reporting that sources close to him say that Kasey Kahne has signed a multi-year deal to drive for Hendrick Motorsports beginning in 2011.
This is an intriguing story, and actually makes sense after it was reported on SceneDaily.com this week that Richard Petty Motorsports has defaulted on a $90 million loan.
The move to Hendrick would give Kahne more stability from a team standpoint, and should lend more consistent results on the racetrack for the 30-year-old driver.
The big question is… Who’s place will he be taking over?
Mark Martin is signed with Hendrick Motorsports through 2011, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is signed through 2012. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, one would imagine are locked in place, so you would have to think Kahne would be replacing either Martin or Earnhardt.
Another way this could go is that the contract could be for Kahne to drive for a team under the “Hendrick Umbrella” such as Stewart-Haas Racing. This will be an interesting story to follow of the next few days to the next few months, but it is a huge acquisition for Hendrick Motorsports.
No word just yet either on if Budweiser will be coming over with Kahne. If you remember in 2007 it was announced that the then “Bud Man” Dale Earnhardt Jr. would not be bringing the sponsor with him to Hendrick Motorsports. Budweiser of course has a history with Hendrick Motorsports, but apparently Hendrick still has some sore feelings after they left his team for Dale Earnhardt Inc. in 1999. So this is another aspect of the deal we will have to keep our eye on.