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Kahne to the #09 car in 2011?UPDATE #2 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Rick Hendrick says he still has not figured out where Kasey Kahne will drive next season, and he dismissed a report that he had a deal with James Finch's No. 09 car. Kahne has signed to join Hendrick Motorsports in 2012 in the No. 5 Chevrolet currently driven by Mark Martin.
06/12/10 Kasey Kahne said he's still unsure where he'll drive next season, even with a report on Sports Illustrated's Web site that states he could be driving for James Finch's single-car team next season. "I've never even heard of that until just now,'' Kahne said Friday at Michigan International Speedway. "There's so many teams that have talked to Mr. Hendrick about 'Could we do this? Could we try this? Could we do this?' '' Kahne said. "There's a lot of them in the garage area trying to work something out with myself.'' Roanoke Times
06/11/10 Hendrick Motorsports and James Finch are working on a partnership to put Kasey Kahne in the #09 Chevy for 2011. Multiple sources indicate the deal could be completed within the next few weeks. Hendrick will not be allowed to own the car under NASCAR's four-team rule, leaving Finch in the position of ownership, although engines and chassis would continue to come from Hendrick. Once completed, the partnership solves the HMS dilemma of where to put Kahne next season. Signed to take over the #5 Chevy in 2012, Kahne leaves RPM at the end of the year but Hendrick already has four signed drivers -- Mark Martin, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson -- under contract for 2011. Stewart-Haas Racing was the first option for Kahne, but sources claim sponsorship and financial constraints for that team have made such a move impossible.
Instead, the partnership with Phoenix Racing is a compromise solution. Under a one-year deal, Kahne will be installed with a single-car team that gives him the opportunity to continue running full-time. Here's the kicker: once Kahne moves to HMS, sources claim the man he's replacing, Mark Martin, may be interested in purchasing the Phoenix team for 2012 as he scales back his driving career. Spokesmen on both sides have denied a deal is in the works. According to Hendrick spokesman Jesse Essex, "Our position with regard to 2011 has not changed. We continue to be open to various options, and nothing has been determined at this time." The 51-year-old Martin also remains uncommitted to his future beyond 2011." Sports Illustrated
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