Kasey Kahne claims his sudden departure from Richard Petty Motorsports was a mutual agreement between the parties, and wished his former outfit well having moved to the Red Bull Racing Team for the remainder of the year.
The 30-year-old was released by RPM on Wednesday following friction between both sides at last weekend's race at Charlotte, where Kahne struggled with brake problems before crashing during the first half of the race.
Kahne was in his final races at the wheel of the No. 9 RPM Ford, as in August he announced he was switching to Red Bull in 2011, before entering a multi-year deal to drive for Hendrick Motorsports from 2012. His free agent status following Wednesday's announcement from RPM allowed him to make his move to Red Bull effective this weekend at Martinsville, where he is driving the No. 83 Toyota for the first time.
Speaking at the Virginia track, Kahne stated that the break up was by mutual consent, and believes it was positive for both him and RPM as they both can concentrate on getting a rolling start to 2011.
"It was a mutual release and for me, I think that's a good thing for both sides. They're happy about it and we're happy about it," said Kahne. "Really, to me I was leaving. I was going on starting next year and it made sense for RPM to start working on their things for next year and for myself to get with the Red Bull guys at this point. It's kind of a jump-start on next year, is what I see it as. That's the biggest thing.
"It's been kind of a crazy week. There's been a lot of different things going on and maybe different opinions on what happened or what's going to happen and that kind of stuff. I'm looking forward to this weekend and I'm happy that I'm in the Red Bull car. Hopefully, I can work well with this group of guys and go pretty fast at times."
Kahne still lamented the technical issues that have hampered him this season with RPM, contributing to him not making the Chase after being a title contender last year. He is currently ranked 21st in the standings with no victories, this being his first winless season since 2007.
"Last weekend, Saturday night [at Charlotte], to have a problem like we had on lap 30, that just doesn't happen at a track that you don't use very much brake at," said Kahne. "And then to happen before. We'd had things go on throughout the season. At that point in time, it was difficult and I think the timing of all this made sense. It was nice for me when it happened and I think it's good for RPM when it happened."
Speculation has been mounting about RPM facing financial difficulties and that being a factor in Kahne's departure. Although he refused to comment on the team's finances, Kahne said the outfit has fulfilled its salary commitments with him to date. Kahne also wished the team well for the remainder of the season and hopes the organization sees out the year, amid reports that it faces an uphill struggle to complete 2010.
"For me, I certainly hope that RPM keeps rolling," said Kahne. "I hope that they finish out this season and put together another great season next year. That's what I want them to do. I want that team to keep going. There's a lot of good people there who deserve to have jobs and deserve to be working on these race teams. For me, I hope they keep rolling for sure."
Kahne also confirmed that his RPM crew chief Kenny Francis will finish the year with the No. 9 RPM team, before rejoining him at Red Bull next year.