Rick Hendrick's Pending Announcement and It's Effect

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IMay 21, 2010

DARLINGTON, SC - MAY 08:  Kasey Kahne, driver of the #9 Budweiser Ford, looks on from the grid prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series SHOWTIME Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on May 8, 2010 in Darlington, South Carolina.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images

We now enter the sixth week of waiting for the huge "surprise" announcement from Rick Hendrick regarding Kasey Kahne.

It was said it might take up to 90 days for the announcement to be made with many thinking it would be around the time of the July race at Daytona International Speedway.

Perhaps Kasey Kahne doesn't really know what this announcement will entail, but we know for sure Rick Hendrick knew where the pieces would fall when he signed Kasey.

It has been batted around like a well-worn tennis ball that Kahne would become the third driver at Stewart-Haas in a new Sprint Cup team.  Now that makes absolutely little to no sense.

Just what would Stewart do after having a driver of Kahne's caliber appear for a year then leave?  It would make quite a void that would most likely need to be filled with a lesser driver. 

Not a bargain for Stewart-Haas and what is he supposed to do about sponsorship?  Would he have someone sponsor Kahne and remain or would a sponsor follow Kahne to Hendrick?

Different cars, car numbers and teams for the same driver make for some havoc with merchandise deals.  How many jackets, caps and shirts are the fans supposed to buy?

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In an interview with a commentator from Speed TV at Dover, Hendrick would not say absolutely Martin would be in the No. 5 next season.  Hmmmmmm.........that is really a surprise because he won't be in it.

Martin has said he won't drive a full season in 2012 and as much as Rick Hendrick thinks of Martin he would never ask him to step down for Kahne.

Mark Martin is enough of a gentleman to know he should sacrifice his ride in the No.5 at HMS and perhaps he will be the driver at Stewart-Haas or elsewhere.  Do not feel sorry for Martin, because Mr. Hendrick will take good care of the respected statesman of NASCAR.

This 60-90 day period of waiting is simply for getting sponsorship and merchandise deals signed, sealed and delivered.  Hendrick knows where his drivers will be.

Now let's go out on a limb with further possible announcements from Hendrick Motorsports.  All of the teams are built on star power and the benefits derived from merchandising products for these drivers.

Kevin Harvick and Richard Childress appear to be on the same page so far as getting Harvick to resign with RCR following this season.  Could we see a surprise there?

Next year will be the 10th anniversary of the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr.  What would be more appropriate than seeing Dale Earnhardt Jr. become a driver for RCR in 2011?  No, he would not be in the No.3 Sprint Cup car.

Dale Jr. could bring AMP Energy to RCR as Shell/Pennzoil takes at trip to the land of Penske.  The only snag with that is the fact Junior says he will not leave Hendrick and is signed through 2013.

Contracts are made to be broken and I don't want to clutter up this article with details like that.

When Kasey Kahne spoke of his decision to come to Hendrick and driving the No. 5 he said, "you get a car like that, and if you're not performing, then you're the problem."

We can only hope Kahne's ride in the No. 5 is as successful as Martin's was especially in 2009.  It would be unfortunate indeed if he ended up with Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s short straw.  That won't happen though.

Now what if suddenly Kevin Harvick was to sign with Hendrick Motorsports?  Talk about having four potential champions under your belt, Rick Hendrick would be in NASCAR nirvana, not that he isn't already. 

Oh, by the way, I believe it is Harvick that is number one in the NASCAR Sprint Cup points standings with Jimmie Johnson fourth and 131 points out of first place.

So will next season have a marquis at Hendrick Motorsports with Johnson, Gordon, Kahne and Earnhardt Jr.?  Maybe, just maybe it would be Johnson, Gordon, Kahne and Harvick.

Mr. Hendrick we await your grandiose announcement.  The part about Mark Martin will only be a surprise if he is still at HMS.

How many more weeks will it be before we have breaking news?


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