Kasey Kahne is going to get a head start on his lone season with Red Bull Racing.
On Thursday, Kahne completed a deal that will allow him to drive for Red Bull as early as this weekend. He will take over the driving duties of Red Bull's No. 83 Toyota beginning with Sunday's Tums 500 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.
Kahne was already scheduled to run one season at Red Bull in 2011 while he awaits joining Hendrick Motorsports for the 2012 season.
Shortly after the Observer posted a story on the Web about Kahne's plans, Richard Petty Motorsports issued a press release Wednesday night stating that Kahne had been released from the No. 9 team effective immediately and Aric Almirola would drive the car at Martinsville.
As for RPM's driver lineup in the No. 9 beyond this weekend, the release said that "is to be determined."
Kahne was not made aware of the RPM announcement of his release before it was issued Wednesday night, several sources confirmed to the Observer.
Almirola was originally scheduled to drive the No. 83 this weekend and Reed Sorenson was slated to drive the car the remaining four races of the Sprint Cup season.
An official announcement of Kahne's move to the No. 83 could come as early as Thursday morning, sources said.
The move comes on the heels of a bad race for Kahne last Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The brakes failed in his car for the second time in three races.
Kahne did not get back in his car once it was fixed and said he was ill. The next day he called his team's brake issues "a mess" and "a joke." He also said an unidentified team member told he needed "to start doing my part."