NASCAR

Kasey Kahne Getting Wings While Kevin Harvick Grabs a Budweiser

LONG POND, PA - JULY 30:  Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Budweiser Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sunoco Red Cross Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on July 30, 2010 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
David YeazellSenior Analyst IAugust 9, 2010

News reports are stating that Kasey Kahne, the latest addition to Hendrick Motorsports, will most likely drive the Red Bull Toyota next year in place of the ailing Brian Vickers.

Earlier in the year Kahne was signed to a multi-year contract with the Hendrick Powerhouse.

NASCAR rules dictate that only four teams can actively participate under one owner. At this time, Hendrick Motorsports has four full time teams, but five drivers under contract.

Sources close to Richard Childress Racing are hinting that a long time NASCAR staple, Budweiser, will join forces with Kevin Harvick as his full time sponsor starting in 2011 campaign.

Once it was announced that Kahne had signed with HMS, initial speculation was that Budweiser would follow.

Kahne has had just as strong marketability with Budweiser as his predecessor Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Mark Martin, the other piece of the HMS puzzle, seems to be holding steadfast on his promise to stay in the No. 5 GoDaddy Chevrolet for the final year of his contract.

So, with Kahne to Red Bull, Harvick to Budweiser, and Martin digging in his heals at HMS, I am puzzled by a couple of things.

First, will DeLana allow Kevin to drink Budweiser?

Second, did Lindsey Lohan open a marketing firm?

Seriously, why would Red Bull spend a ton of money marketing Kahne as the face of their product, only to have it all become obsolete at the end of next season?

On the other hand, why would Kahne spend a year in a Toyota?

Just to have something to drive?

Ok, one more. Why would Rick Hendrick let Kahne drive a Toyota, or better yet, drive for another team?

Oh, wait a moment, now the fog seems to be clearing.

In typical Hendrick fashion, maybe Red Bull is switching to Chevrolet’s for next year and HMS will begin providing chassis engines and support. The same kind of support they provide for the non Hendrick owned retail customer Stewart-Haas Racing.

Still there is the question of Kahne and the massive amount of marketing dollars to promote him.

Is it possible that Red Bull has decided to join forces with Hendrick beyond the 2011 season?

Brian Vickers, the face of Red Bull racing, is still recovering from blood clots and has stated he plans to return to racing.

Since Vickers departure, there have been several drivers occupy the car, but no one has had any real success.  

If next season goes by and Vickers is still not cleared to return, can Red Bull hang their future investments on a single car team and Scott Speed?

With Red Bull about to spend a ton of marketing dollars on Kahne, Budweiser committing to Harvick, and Go Daddy almost certainly committing to their franchise driver Danica Patrick in 2012, puppet master Hendrick may already pulled all the strings he needs to.     

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