Kasey Kahne signs deal with Hendrick Motorsports; Slated to succeed Mark Martin in #5 Car

Charlotte, NC (KAIT) - Silly season has already begun in the Sprint Cup Series.

Kasey Kahne has signed a deal with Hendrick Motorsports effective in 2012. He is in the final year of his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports.

Multiple sources have said that Kahne will succeed Batesville native Mark Martin as the driver of the #5 car Martin signed a contract extension last year through the 2011 season.

There is room for Martin and Kahne in the Hendrick family. Stewart Haas Racing receives chassis, engines and technical support from HMS. So Kahne could be housed there until Martin's contract was up, if necessary.

In 2008 Dale Earnhardt Jr. signed a five-year deal with Hendrick. Jimmie Johnson last year signed an extension through 2015, and Jeff Gordon has a lifetime contract.

Kahne is in the final year of his contract with Richard Petty Motorsports, and plans to finish the season in the No. 9 Ford, sources said. It is unknown whether Kahne's sponsor, Budweiser, will accompany him to HMS.

RPM sent out a release acknowledging Kahne would not be renewing his contract after this season.

"Kasey is a very talented driver and I have enjoyed watching him race. We all wish him nothing but the best and hope he succeeds in anything he chooses to do," team owner Richard Petty said.