Red Bull makes personnel shift, close on Kenny Francis deal

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Red Bull Racing is restructuring its management team, though general manager Jay Frye will not be impacted by the changes to the NASCAR Sprint Cup organization.

Frye will retain his current role, but technical director John Probst will have a larger role in the day-to-day operation of the teams, sources told Probst will take on greater responsibility and oversee the manufacturing of the race cars and the fabrication and body shops. His move is an effort to streamline the organization that has struggled with its two-car Cup effort this season.

Frye will continue to be active in the daily operation and administration of the team, with Probst concentrating on the competition side. Probst, 39, has been in his role with the team since 2007. He previously worked as a vehicle dynamics supervisor at Ford Racing Technology, as a Champ Car program manager at Ford and as a Formula One engineer for Ford. Raised in Pennsylvania, he has degrees in physics and mechanical engineering.

Red Bull fields two Cup cars. Brian Vickers started the season in the No. 83 Toyota a year after making the field for the Chase for the Sprint Cup, but was sidelined with medical issues. Since then, a series of drivers -- including Casey Mears, Mattias Ekstrom, Reed Sorenson and Boris Said -- have piloted the car, which is 27th in the owner standings. Scott Speed drives the No. 82 Toyota and is currently 27th in the driver standings and 28th in the owner standings.

In related news, Kasey Kahne's Richard Petty Motorsports' crew chief Kenny Francis is close to signing a deal to join Kahne with the team for the 2011 season.

Kahne has already announced plans to drive for the team next season, though his car number and whether the team will field two or three entries has not been confirmed. Francis is in his fifth season with Kahne. The pair have 10 career wins together.