Ford suing NASCAR driver for breach-of-contract

DETROIT -- Attorneys for Kasey Kahne asked a federal judge
to throw out Ford's breach-of-contract lawsuit against the NASCAR
driver, one of his lawyers said Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland in Detroit was to hear
arguments on the request Wednesday, attorney David Baum said from
New York.

Ford sued Kahne in Wayne County Circuit Court in July 2004, the
county where the Michigan automaker is headquartered. The company
claimed he signed a contract that obligated him to drive Fords for
Robert Yates Racing and appear in promotional activities. But in
October 2003, the suit alleged, Kahne bolted Ford and joined a
Dodge team owned by Ray Evernham.

The lawsuit was transferred to federal court shortly after it
was filed because the parties are from different states, Baum said.
Kahne lives in Huntersville, N.C.

Ford has called the suit "unfortunate," and said it believes
in honoring contracts.

NASCAR views its teams as independents and drivers as contracted
workers hired by each team. Disputes are worked out among each
other, with NASCAR having no influence in the results.

Kahne, 25, was named NASCAR Rookie of the Year last season after
finishing 13th in the points standings. This season, he is ranked
12th among money leaders but wasn't in the top 20 in the points