There has been a lot of conversation and rumors this past week regarding the status of Kasey Kahne and his contract with Ford Racing and Robert Yates Racing. Greg Specht, Ford's North American Racing Operations Manager, made a statement...
There has been a lot of conversation and rumors this past week regarding the status of Kasey Kahne and his contract with Ford Racing and Robert Yates Racing. Greg Specht, Ford's North American Racing Operations Manager, made a statement regarding Kahne's contract status with the manufacturer and outlined Ford's history with Kasey and its future plans for him.
GREG SPECHT , Manager of North American Racing Operations, Ford Racing Technology
"I've been hearing a lot of speculation around Kasey's status and, as far as Ford Racing is concerned, we have a multi-year contract in place with him and we intend on honoring that.
"We feel Kasey Kahne is a future star in this sport. That's why we went ahead and signed him to a multi-year contract. We're flattered that other teams and manufacturers are interested in him because that means we must know how to evaluate promising young talent.
"We've developed a plan for Kasey, along with Robert Yates Racing, and that includes having him run a full Busch Series schedule next season because we feel he's primed for a run at the championship. In addition, he would compete in seven Nextel Cup events for RYR with the plan being that he would run a full-time series schedule in 2005.
"We've been up front with Kasey from the very beginning and have fulfilled his wishes from the first day he showed an interest in becoming a professional race car driver. We organized special test sessions, at our own expense, with Bobby Rahal's CART team and the ppc Busch team so Kasey could compare both types of cars and decide which career path he wanted to pursue. We told him that it was his decision as far as what road he wanted to go down, but that we would be there to support him and provide him the necessary funds to develop his skills with competitive teams.
"At the time he wanted to give the open-wheel series a try, so we arranged for him to compete in both the Toyota Atlantic and Formula Ford Series. After that experience, Kasey decided he preferred stock cars, so we went to one of our top teams in Robert Yates Racing and developed a timetable. We helped coordinate and fund a Busch program with Robert and Channellock for Kasey to compete in 20 races last season. We then increased our tech support and funding with the Akins team for this year so they could become more competitive and that has obviously paid off because Kasey is currently in the top 10 in the Busch Series standings.
"All the while we told Kasey that he was welcome to continue racing sprint cars because that's something we know he loves to do. We've even helped pay for some of his travel costs to get back and forth from various tracks just so he could run in multiple events on any given weekend.
"Kasey has told us in the past that Ford has delivered on every promise it has made to him, and we intend on continuing with that by ensuring he remains in competitive equipment with an eye towards becoming a future champion."