Rick Hendrick Wins, Mark Martin Apologizes, Kasey Kahne Claims Happiness

Sandra MacWattersCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2010

photo courtesy AP Photo/John Raoux
photo courtesy AP Photo/John Raoux

Rick Hendrick pulled together yet another slick deal by placing his extra driver, Kasey Kahne, in the Red Bull Racing camp.

Jay Frye, Vice President at Red Bull said, "We are fortunate to have the opportunity to hire a very talented driver for the 2011 season and we took it."

Kasey Kahne claims to be pleased with the one year deal saying, "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 personally and professionally."

Now you have to know Kahne would have said the same thing about wherever Hendrick ended up placing him, but deep down he hoped just maybe he would be in the No. 5 car at Hendrick Motorsports.

Mark Martin can now say, "I told you so" to all those who believed he would sacrifice his ride at HMS for Kahne.

Martin had said, "I'm going to drive the 5 car. That's what I'm going to do in 2011."

The doubters in the media drove him to an outburst at Indianapolis where he expressed his displeasure with those who doubted his word.

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Now with the decision made about Kahne for 2011, Martin has second thoughts about his Indianapolis rant.

Martin said, "I reflect back on how I reacted in Indy and regret what I said there.  That came from the heart and not the head.  It was grinding on me and I apologize for what I said and wish I hadn't said what I said."

Martin continued, "I should have just continued to hold on to the high road just a little bit longer, and it would've been all okay.  Anyway we're moving forward now."

So Martin gets to continue his ride in the No. 5 as he battles to make the Chase this year, currently clinging to the 12th place in the point standings.

He claims his happiest time during his career has been since he began the 2009 season with Hendrick Motorsports.

He is almost giddy when he speaks of his stint with HMS and the people there.  Now he will have one more year of bliss in 2011.  At least we can hope he is in for more fun times and maybe a championship at long last.

So Hendrick pulls off a deal that apparently costs him nothing, as he maneuvers around the NASCAR rule prohibiting more than four teams for one owner.

Technically Kahne is still under contract to Hendrick for 2011, so it would be interesting to know the details that allow his fifth driver to drive for another owner.  Guess it should just be chalked up under the smooth move column for Hendrick.

Red Bull Racing gets the benefit of Kahne's talent for one year which hopefully will cause them to up their game.

We can only hope the move for Kahne from Richard Petty Motorsports to Red Bull doesn't become lateral, wasting one year in the 30-year old driver's career.


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