Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick is working with James Finch, owner of Phoenix Racing and the No. 09 Chevy, to secure a 2011 ride for Kasey Kahne, who signed on to drive for HMS in 2012, earlier this year.
Under current NASCAR rules, HMS cannot add a car to its stable because it is at the four-team cap. With Mark Martin having one more year on his contract with HMS, Hendrick could not add Kahne to his team this year, despite Kahne’s contract with Richard Petty Motorsports ending this season.
Originally, there were rumors that Stewart Hass Racing, an HMS satellite team, would earn Kahne’s driving services for one year, until the No. 5 driven by Martin became available. Martin’s contract expires at the end of next season. But, sponsorship difficulties are said to be preventing Kahne from signing on with SHR.
That leaves Phoenix Racing, another HMS satellite team, as the main candidate for Kahne’s services. Under the deal, Kahne would compete full time in the No. 09, with engines and chassis coming from HMS. Phoenix would get Kahne, a winning driver, and would most likely be able to attract a full time sponsor with Kahne behind the wheel. That is why this deal seems to make the most sense, with SHR out of the equation.
There are also rumors that Martin might buy Phoenix Racing, which has been rumored to be for sale. If that happens, he would purchase the team after the 2011 season.