After months of speculation, Kasey Kahne has his final destination for 2011: Red Bull Racing. The 2012 Hendrick Motorsports driver was announced to RBR’s program on Tuesday, with the press release offering little specifics other than his place on a to-be-determined driver roster has been secured.
“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.”
“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 [No.] 9 team and our sponsors.”
The release states the team will drive a Toyota, but Frontstretch has been told a change to Chevrolet is still a possibility despite a contract extension the team signed with the manufacturer after the 2010 season. Kahne will team with either Scott Speed or Brian Vickers, depending on the progress of Vickers’s recovery from blood clots earlier this year. All indications are, though, that he’ll be back in time for the 2011 Daytona 500.
“Kasey is going to a competitive organization that made the Chase last season and has great leadership and resources,” said Rick Hendrick on the move. “Of everything we looked at, he and I agree it’s the best opportunity for him to be successful in 2011, which was always our number-one priority.
“The process went on longer than any of us anticipated, but I’m glad that we took our time to make sure it was right. And although I’m not looking forward to racing against him next year, I’m comfortable knowing this is the best situation for Kasey.”