For the first time in his 6-year Sprint Cup Series career, Kasey Kahne’s name is being mentioned during Silly Season.
Though Kahne’s contract with Richard Petty Motorsports does not expire until after 2010, an opportunity may be coming for him that would be too good to pass up.
Stewart-Haas Racing co-owner and Sprint Cup Series points leader, Tony Stewart told sources that, due to his organization’s vast success, they may consider expanding their two-car operation to a three-car operation in the near future.
How near is near? It sounds like 2010.
Other drivers being rumored to go to SHR’s potential 3rd car include Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, and Kurt Busch. But the name that stuck out the most was that of Kahne, and here’s why.
Kahne, Stewart, and Stewart’s 2nd driver, Ryan Newman all come from the same racing background: Sprint Cars. The trio is arguably the most successful group of Sprint Car racers in NASCAR, and the addition of Kahne to SHR would complete a Sprint Car “Dream Team” of sorts.
Kahne has also got along famously with Stewart since before his career took off. It was Stewart who Kahne considered to be his NASCAR role model when he began racing in Cup.
Kahne also has the big-money sponsorship from Budweiser, which would make him a nice choice for Stewart to put in his 3rd car. And with so many of Kahne’s fans chanting for a manufacturer switch, Kahne jumping over to SHR to drive a Chevrolet would most likely have them grinning from ear-to-ear.
Of course, Kahne would first have to reach an agreement with RPM to grant him an early release. But if RPM can’t pick up its performance before the end of the year, there really wouldn’t be any need for them to keep Kahne from going to SHR.
But who would take over the #9?
Why not McMurray? He is not likely to stay at Roush-Fenway, especially when you consider that team is needing to narrow its fleet down to four cars. McMurray has been rumored for a long time to go to RPM, even dating back to when it was Evernham Motorsports. McMurray to RPM seems almost inevitable now that he is in a contact year.
A move from Roush-Fenway to RPM could revitalize McMurray’s career, as he would likely move from being 5th man on the totam pole at Roush-Fenway to the top man at RPM. And if RPM is one of the first teams to delve into the potential Honda or Nissan option, McMurray’s upside at RPM would be limitless.
Of course, it is all pure speculation now, and it would take Stewart-Haas actually expanding its team, and then hiring Kahne. But the possibilities are always there.
Kasey Kahne could complete a Sprint Car Dream Team.