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The abrupt departure of Kasey Kahne from Richard Petty Motorsports Wednesday night has fueled a new round of rumors about the team’s ongoing financial woes.
Multiple sources confirmed to SPEED.com on Thursday that Roush Fenway Racing, which builds RPM’s cars, briefly repossessed RPM’s Talladega cars and engines because of non-payment. Roush Fenway Racing allowed RPM to take the cars back Thursday morning, sources told SPEED.com.
Additionally, sources said that one of the reasons Kahne was released from the team is that RPM owed him a substantial amount of back salary.
A team spokesperson contacted Thursday afternoon declined to say whether or not Kahne was owed money, Roush Fenway Racing was owed money, when team owner George Gillett would publicly discuss his team’s situation or what RPM’s plans were beyond this weekend. “There’s just nothing much to comment on right now,” said Tiffany Breaux of Richard Petty Motorsports.
Breaux did say that Kahne asked for his release from the team and the decision to split with RPM was “mutual.”
Ford Motor Co. officials declined comment, saying it was an issue involving teams only and not the manufacturer. Speed.com
10/21/10 Kasey Kahne will drive the #83 at Red Bull Racing for the final five races after being released by Richard Petty Motorsports on Wednesday night, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com. Aric Almirola will replace Kahne in the #9 Budweiser Ford at RPM at Martinsville. No plans were announced for the remaining four races, but a source said Kahne's release could pave the way for #47 JTG Daugherty's Marcos Ambrose to move into the car that he will drive full-time next season. That would open the door for #09/71-Bobby Labonte to replace Ambrose in the #47 Toyota he will drive next season. Sources said there were talks before Kahne's release about moving Ambrose into the #9 and Labonte into the #47, but Kahne's sponsorship obligation with Budweiser was a holdup. Kahne announced earlier in the year he will drive for Red Bull Racing in 2011 before moving to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. Crew chief Kenny Francis, who will move with Kahne to Red Bull next season, told ESPN.com he will be with Almirola this weekend and he expects to remain with the team through the end of the season. "If they want me I will be there,” Francis said. Francis would not elaborate on why Kahne was released, saying it had been in the works all day. ESPN.com
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