Ford happy to have Kahne, but how long will it last
The team will run the #9, #19, #43 and #98 cars of Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, A.J. Allmendinger and Paul Menard.
While hardly the most impressive lineup of drivers, there are a couple bright spots. Allmendinger has the potential to develop into a winning driver, and then of course there is Kahne.
While he’s hardly lit up the track in recent years, that's largely due to equipment issues and Kahne is an undeniable racing talent. When he gets the right equipment, he can drive away from the competition. At only 29 years old, he is someone who any team would be smart to sign for the long term.
But it’s not up to RPM. It’s up to Kahne, whose contract expires at the end of 2010.
He has made it clear that he wants to be with a team that has the potential to win races and championships. Up until now, the young RPM team hasn’t shown that ability.
Ford officials are gushing over what a coup it has been for them to gain the services of Kasey Kahne, who finished 10th in the points in 2009, but that joy may be short-lived.
If big improvements aren’t made that allow Kahne to feel confident about the future, don’t expect him to be at RPM beyond this year. Plenty of higher-caliber teams will be courting Kahne, especially with the possibility of a potential third team at Stewart-Haas Racing or a fourth team at Joe Gibbs starting in 2011.
With no shortage of suitors, Kahne will have to enjoy a magical year driving Fords for RPM to want to stick around. He’s the perfect example of a star who needs to be at a better team, and the writing is already on the wall.
While nothing is impossible, I would put the chancez of Kahne being behind the wheel of a RPM car in 2011 somewhere between slim and none.
With the marketing potential of Kahne, it’s pretty much a sure bet that a bigger, faster, stronger team will come snatch Kahne away from the Ford ranks.
They better enjoy 2010, because the excitement from Ford and RPM about having Kahne isn’t likely to last.