Kahne addresses premature move

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 4:20 PM ET

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Days after his departure from Richard Petty Motorsports, driver Kasey Kahne talked about his early arrival to Red Bull Racing for the five remaining Sprint Cup Series races this season.

It's been a tumultuous week for Kahne, who was released from RPM on Wednesday. He will drive the No.83 Toyota for Red Bull, beginning with this weekend's race at Martinsville Speedway.

Kahne said his exit from RPM was a "mutual release." His crew chief, Kenny Francis, will stay at RPM for the remainder of the season. Kahne will work with crew chief Jimmy Elledge at Red Bull for the meantime.

"Really for me, I was leaving," Kahne said during a press conference held at Martinsville on Friday. "I was going on and starting next year, and it made sense for RPM to start working on their things for next year, and for myself to get together with the Red Bull guys at this point. It's kind of a jump start on next year. That's what I see it as. It's been kind of a crazy week. There's been a lot of different things going on."

Aric Almirola will drive the No.9 Ford for RPM at Martinsville.

Earlier this season, Red Bull announced that Kahne would join the team next year before he moves to Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No.5 car in place of Mark Martin in 2012. His contract with RPM was set to expire at the end of this season.

Kahne has finished 28th or worse in five of the last seven races. Last Saturday, he suffered brake failure and crashed early in the 500-mile night race at Charlotte. After the car was repaired, Kahne refused to hop back into the driver's seat. J.J. Yeley finished the race, driving the car to a 38th- place finish.

Kahne, currently 21st in points, said he's excited about getting an early start with Red Bull.

"I was with the guys yesterday, putting seats in the cars and trying to get prepared, as well as we could for today and this weekend," Kahne added. With the excitement at Red Bull, it was nice to be a part of that. I'm looking forward to the last five races and getting started this weekend."

Red Bull General Manager Jay Frye is equally happy with having Kahne on board earlier than expected.

"We're really excited to get a head start on the 2011 season," Frye said. "This was something we obviously didn't anticipate happening, but it did. We can't be more happy about it."

Frye revealed that Red Bull presently has plans to field just two teams for next year. Red Bull continues to monitor Brian Vickers' medical condition. Vickers' season was curtailed in May when he was diagnosed with blood clots and had to be treated with anticoagulants (blood thinners). The team also is monitoring the performance of Scott Speed, who drives the No.82 Toyota.

Rumours have been swirling that RPM is in serious financial trouble and that Martinsville might be the last race for the organization. RPM also fields Fords for Elliott Sadler, A.J. Allmendinger and Paul Menard.

Kahne said RPM has met its obligations with him, paying him up to date. He described the rumours of RPM's demise as "speculation," and is hopeful the organization will finish out the season.


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