Kahne fuming over cutting costs

DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:50 AM ET

One of the more intriguing stories to come out of the Bank of American 500 Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway was the disastrous race of Kasey Kahne and the No. 9 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford.

Kahne had been feeling ill prior to the race start but not sick enough to keep him out of what he thought to be one of the better race cars the RPM team had built for him this season.

But after his car spun out on Lap 124, Kahne said he had enough and told his crew he wasn't getting back in the car when repairs were made.

RPM contacted JJ Yeley, who finished the race in the red Budweisersponsored Ford.

Kahne blasted the team the next day, calling it "a joke" that RPM kept having preventable mechanical problems that resulted in his crash at CMS.

"I lost it," Kahne told media members at a charity event Sunday. "I was just mad. I came into the race thinking we had a shot to win; thinking we had a good car in practice; we had a good shot. It went green. And then boom, my brakes are gone.

"It's not like you have halfbrakes, like you can pump them. Your foot goes to the floor. It bottoms out. It's a joke."

Kahne said that he believes the cause of the failure was the brand of brake fluid used by RPM.

"Basically we run stuff that's not very good compared to some of the other teams," he said.

The problems at RPM run much deeper than just Kahne's issues. The team plays up its Richard Petty monicker but that's just window dressing. The team is controlled by George Gillett Jr. -- he of Liverpool EPL fame.

The same Gillett who drove Liverpool from the heights of power, when he and Texan Tom Hicks bought the club, to near relegation this season.

There is lots of speculation in the NASCAR paddock about cost cutting moves at RPM that keeps their Fords from contending with top teams.

And now talk is that Kahne may not even finish out the season in the No. 9 car. He has a contract to move to powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolets in 2012 and next season will drive either the No. 82 or No. 83 Toyota for Red Bull Racing.

Asked directly on Sunday if he might jump to Red Bull early Kahne was evasive.

"I don't know," Kahne said. "I really don't know if that will happen or not."

Very interesting indeed.

FINISH LINES

The issue of Bernie Ecclestone's age has been raised again by concerned stake holders in the Formula One world championship who fear that without a suitable heir apparent the series could suffer dramatic losses should something happen to the soon-to-be 80 year old. But Ecclestone is scoffing at such concern. He told Britain's Guardian newspaper he plans to keep a firm hand on the F-1 helm: "Absolutely. What else would I do?" he declared. ... Jeff Gordon goes into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Tums Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway with an astounding 11 consecutive top five finishes in the No. 24 Chevrolet ... Canada's Steve Arpin completed 1,930 laps of a possible 2,652 laps in ARCA Racing Series this season, putting him at No. 5 on the most laps list. ... The good news is that NASCAR's Bank of America 500 posted a 3.2 rating for ESPN Saturday. That marks the first race to be above the three mark this season. The bad news is that the Sporting News is reporting that ratings for the first four Sprint Cup Chase races are down a whopping 30%.

dean.mcnulty@sunmedia.ca


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