As you all should have heard by now, Kasey Kahne has signed on to drive for Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. He will supposedly be taking over the #5 car from Mark Martin. This whole deal leaves Kahne in a sort of limbo for next year. Rick Hendrick has said that he’s not worried about the plan for 2011 but also has admitted that it will come together. I take that as Hendrick isn’t sure what is going to happen. The most popular rumor has Kahne taking over a third car at Stewart Hass Racing, as they receive technical support from HMS. Another fact that tends to back this is that Tony Stewart and Kahne are friends, come from the USAC background, and have mutual respect for one another. The chink in this plan though, I don’t see why Stewart would add a third car and then have to worry about finding another driver for it in 2011. It seems like unnecessary work and worry for the folks at Stewart Haas Racing.
Here is what I see happening, and I really, really like this idea, by the way. It’s going to take some of Hendrick’s money to make this swing but I think no matter what solution they come up with for Kasey Kahne in 2011, it is going to cost some money. Kahne will take over the AMP / Mountain Dew / National Guard next season in a yet to be determined number Chevy for HMS. Kahne has the looks, popularity, and charisma to help each of those sponsors capitalize on the exposure. What happens to Dale Jr.? Hendrick, shucks out some moolah and helps move JR Motorsports, which he is a part of the ownership group of anyway, to the Sprint Cup series. JRM becomes a satellite operation of HMS and Dale Jr. continues to drive the number 88. The 2011 lineup for Hendrick Motorsports ends up being Johnson, Gordon, Martin, and Kahne. Dale Jr. ends up driving for his “own” team, which is what he wanted when he was battling for DEI. This is a win-win solution. Are you ready for the cherry on top? Dale Jr. reunites with Budweiser. Yeah, you heard that right. Dale Jr. driving the #88 Budweiser Chevy. Hell, you can even dig out your old Dale Jr. / Budweiser shirts and hats. Now doesn’t everything seem right in the world?