According to Red Bull Racing and Hendrick Motorsports in a press release this morning, Kasey Kahne will drive a Red Bull Racing Team Toyota in 2011, the team announced Tuesday.
“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.”
Kahne, 30, owns an impressive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series résumé. He has 11 wins, 17 poles, 47 top-fives, and 84 top-10 finishes and was a Chase participant in 2006 and 2009.
“This opportunity places me with an established, competitive team that has proven they can win races and make the Chase,” Kahne said.
Kahne also added that, “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 9 team and our sponsors.”
“This obviously all happened very quickly,” Frye added.
Frye also added that, “Over the next month, we will finalize the specific team details.” Red Bull Racing Team’s final driver lineup for 2011 will be confirmed later this year.
"Kasey is going to a competitive organization that made the Chase last season and has great leadership and resources," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports.
Hendrick went on to say that, "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."
As announced in April, veteran Mark Martin will continue to drive Hendrick Motorsports' No. 5 Chevrolet in 2011.
"We're looking forward to another year with Mark Martin, one of the true class acts in racing, driving for Hendrick Motorsports," Hendrick said.
"There aren't many things in this world I'd rather do than win a championship with him, and that will be our goal with the No. 5 team for the rest of this year and in 2011."
Fellow writer David Yeazell first broke the story in a column written yesterday titled, “Kasey Kahne Getting Wings While Kevin Harvick Grabs a Budweiser.”
Special thanks to Red Bull Racing and Hendrick Motorsports.