Beer Stickers: Richard Petty said Budweiser, which sponsors #9-Kasey Kahne and had logos on the other GEM cars prior to the merger, will not be on the #43 or #44. It has been a Petty tradition going back to Richard's mother not to have alcohol-related sponsors on the cars. "My mother would come back and haunt us home," Petty said of what would happen if Budweiser showed on up the #43 or #44. Since there is no sticker to run to get in the Budweiser Shootout and the pole award is given by Coors Light, it will not effect the #43 and/or #44 from running the Budweiser Shootout.
2009 Sponsors Schedule for Allmendinger and the #44
Bud Shootout - 2/7, Valvoline
Daytona 500 - 2/15, Valvoline
Auto Club Speedway - 2/22, Charter Communications
Las Vegas - 3/1, Harrah's
Atlanta - 3/8, Charter Communications
Bristol - 3/22, Charter Communications
Martinsville - 3/29, Charter Communications
Texas - 4/5, Super 8
Phoenix - 4/18, Charter Communications
Talladega - 4/26, Hunt Brothers Pizza
Richmond - 5/2, PVA.org
Darlington - 5/9, Best Buy
All-Star Race - 5/16, Hunt Brothers Pizza
Lowe’s Motor Speedway 5/24, Hunt Brothers Pizza
Dover - 5/31, Auto Value Bumper to Bumper
Pocono - 6/8, Stanley Tools
Michigan - 6/14, Stanley Tools
Infineon - 6/21, Best Buy
New Hampshire - 6/28, Berlin City Auto Group
Daytona - 7/4, PVA.org
Chicago - 7/11, Hunt Brothers Pizza
Indy - 7/26, Hunt Brothers Pizza
Pocono - 8/2, Valvoline
Watkins Glen - 8/9, Stanley Tools
Michigan - 8/16, Super 8
Bristol - 8/22, Hunt Brothers Pizza
Atlanta - 9/6, Hunt Brothers Pizza
Richmond - 9/12, PVA.org
New Hampshire - 9/20, Berlin City Auto Group
Dover - 9/27, Super 8
Kansas - 10/4, Valvoline
Auto Club Speedway - 10/11, Dassault Systemes
Charlotte - 10/17, Best Buy
Martinsville - 10/25, Coleman Natural Foods
Talladega - 11/1, Hunt Brothers Pizza
Texas - 11/8, Ford in Petty colors
Phoenix - 11/15, Ford in Petty colors
Homestead - 11/22, Ford in Petty colors
(as of 11-3-2009)
Contract Status: Sponsor - 200?; Driver - 2010, moves to the #43
#44 [was the #10 team] Team Past News and Rumors
(NOTE: some older links may not work)
Allmendinger pleads no contest for DWI: AJ Allmendinger was given a suspended sentence, probation and community service after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of driving while impaired following a traffic stop on Oct. 29, SceneDaily.com reported. The 27-year-old driver was charged by Mooresville police after being pulled over at 1:27 a.m. in North Carolina. He was released after registering .08 on the Intoxilyzer. Allmendinger pleaded no contest in North Carolina District Court on Friday and was given a 60-day suspended sentence, 18 months unsupervised probation and 24 hours of community service, the Web site reported. He was also fined $100 plus court costs and his driving privileges were limited. Allmendinger had been placed on probation by Richard Petty Motorsports and fined $10,000 to be donated to charity.(Associated Press/ESPN.com)(12-21-2009)
Rick Russell out at Petty: Rick Russell is the latest casualty in the Richard Petty Motorsports/Yates Racing merger. The president of the team has parted ways with the company, sources told FOXSports.com. Russell, who had been with Evernham Motorsports since its inception in 2000, came to the company following a seven-year stint with Action Performance (currently Motorsports Authentics) where he served as vice president and general manager. Max Jones, principal of the team formerly known as Yates Racing, will assume Russell's position.(Fox Sports)(12-12-2009)
Petty-Yates Merger supposedly a done deal: Richard Petty Motorsports officially became a Ford operation on Thursday. The merger deal was signed between principals from RPM and Yates Racing and the appropriate paperwork was filed with Ford Motor Company. Richard Petty Motorsports brings three additional teams to the table, the #9, #19 and #43. Ford officials have said repeatedly what a coup it was to gain #9-Kasey Kahne, who finished 10th in the Sprint Cup point standings, into the fold as well as 28-year-old #43-AJ Allmendinger. #19-Elliott Sadler will also join the driver roster which included #98-Paul Menard from the former Yates organization. RPM is currently operating out of Statesville, N.C. The former Yates Racing buildings in Concord, N.C. are currently being remodeled to accommodate all four teams. That move is scheduled for Speedweeks in February.(FoxSports)(12-4-2009)
Blue Changes at Yates Shop: The building used by Yates Racing in Concord, N.C., soon will be gutted and prepared to expand into a four-car Sprint Cup garage when the merger with Richard Petty Motorsports is completed. The building was used to field two cars owned by Yates/Hall of Fame Racing in 2009. With the merger it will expand to the #9 of Kasey Kahne, #19 of Elliott Sadler, #43 of AJ Allmendinger and #98 of Paul Menard. The building is expected to be painted the famous Petty Blue since the organization will take on the RPM name.(ESPN Insider)(11-25-2009)
Roush's Smith not retiring: Roush Fenway Racing president Geoff Smith has decided to delay his retirement. Smith said because of tough economic times and the merger between partner Yates Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports that he will stay on at least through the 2010 season. Smith is handling a lot of the paperwork in the merger that he said is agreed to on all major issues and should be announced soon. He also plays a major role in bringing sponsors to the cars for the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series. Smith has yet to wrap up a full season of sponsorship for the #17 of Matt Kenseth.(see more at ESPN Insiders)(11-17-2009)
Richard Petty says with merger nearing completion: Richard Petty said the Richard Petty Motorsports-Yates Racing proposed merger is still in the hands of the lawyers, but with the likelihood of it happening, RPM had to begin its staff reductions this week.
Sources indicated more than 150 people were laid off earlier this week or were told they would be laid off after the season ends next week at Homestead-Miami Speedway. RPM, which fields four teams, and Yates, which fields two, announced in September they planned to merge – and with NASCAR’s four-team limit, the staff reductions were anticipated. “If we’re going to do what we’re going to do, we’ve got to start somewhere,” Petty said Friday at Phoenix International Raceway. “This is basically where we’re starting.” Many of those laid off were in the engine shop and the car manufacturing department, sources said. The new organization will use Roush Yates Engines and likely will be based in the current Yates shop in Concord, N.C. – about 45 miles from the current RPM shop in Statesville, NC. “I think we’re moving there to the [Yates shop near the] airport,” Petty said. “As far as I know. Tune in next week.”(SceneDaily)(11-14-2009)
Latest on RPM 'layoffs' and switches: The dominos continue to fall at Richard Petty Motorsports. When Keith Barnwell was released on Tuesday, that left #44-A.J. Allmendinger sans spotter. On Thursday, the decision was made to reunite Allmendinger with former spotter Tony Hirschmann, who had been reassigned to #43-Reed Sorenson in the crew chief swap. Sorenson's crew chief Sammy Johns will spot for him this weekend. Kevin Buskirk, who was #19-Elliott Sadler's crew chief earlier this season, is expected to make the calls on the #43 pit box. Pete Rondeau, who served as the director of research and development at RPM since July 2005, was also released on Tuesday. The former crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr. says he's ready to become a road warrior again and is interested in any upcoming crew chief openings.(FoxSports)(11-13-2009)
Richard Petty Raceway opens Friday: NASCAR's all-time wins leader Richard Petty and Phoenix International Raceway have teamed up to open Richard Petty Raceway, a 1/16-mile go-kart track on the Midway that is the first such permanent karting facility located within a major NASCAR venue. Petty and Sprint Cup Series driver A.J. Allmendinger will appear at the grand opening of the track, scheduled for 2:00pm on Friday, November 13.(PIR)(11-12-2009)
RPM Engine shop to shut down UPDATE: What's left of the original Evernham Motorsports engine shop is expected to shut down on Monday, according to multiple sources. Richard Petty Motorsports will retain the necessary personnel to complete the final two races of the season when engine duties will revert to Roush Yates engines with the move to Ford. With the merger of RPM and Yates Racing, the Petty crew chiefs were told that each team would be able to keep 17 crewmen per team. The overall reduction for the organization is expected to be 200 of 250 employees once the deal is complete.(FoxSports)(11-9-2009)
UPDATE: The NASCAR workforce shrunk by 47 people on Monday as Richard Petty Motorsports took the first steps toward shutting down its engine department in Concord, NC. RPM is making reductions in its staff with the impending merger with Yates Racing. Additional cuts are expected in the car shop in Statesville, N.C. on Tuesday. Sources said on Sunday that the three remaining teams expected to join forces with Yates will retain 17 crewmen per team. But given the move to Ford — which started at Talladega with #19-Elliott Sadler on Oct. 30th and continued this past weekend with #44-AJ Allmendinger at Texas, there's no need to continue building new Dodge cars or engines. The engine department will continue to employ 14 employees through the end of the season to assist in the organization for the final two races. Roush Yates Engines will supply powerplants for the team in 2010.(FoxSports)(11-10-2009)
Allmendinger In Fords Remainder of 2009 Season: AJ Allmendinger makes his Ford Racing debut this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Richard Petty Motorsports driver will race the remaining three races of the 2009 season in a Ford Fusion. Race fans will recognize the familiar “Petty Blue” and red paint scheme on #44 for the rest of the season. Last week at Talladega, Elliott Sadler drove a Ford to a ninth-place finish. Allmendinger will be the only Petty driver in a Ford in any of the remaining 2009 races. “This is exciting stuff. It’s like a new beginning for Richard Petty Motorsports. Whenever you do something new you are a little bit excited and a little bit nervous because you haven't done it before. Elliott drove a Ford for us at Talladega last week and everyone was really positive about the experience. It’s our turn this week tire testing a Ford in Daytona and we’ll drive one at Phoenix and Homestead as well.”(RPM)(11-3-2009)
Allmendinger charged with DWI: UPDATES: fined by team: For the second time in a week a NASCAR driver is in trouble with the law. A.J. Allmendinger, driver of the #44 car, was arrested for drunk driving, Mooresville police say. Allmendinger was pulled over around 1:30 a.m. Thursday along Highway 150. According to police, Allmendinger blew a .08, which is the legal limit in North Carolina. Last week Mooresville police say alcohol was a factor in an accident involving NASCAR driver and team owner Michael Waltrip. Officers investigating the accident suspected Waltrip was drinking, but when he was given a field sobriety test, he registered a .06. In North Carolina the legal limit is .08.(News Observer)(10-29-2009)
UPDATE: The Richard Petty Motorsports driver, according to the police report, was driving a 2007 Lexus when he was pulled over at 1:27 a.m. He was released to others at the owner's request. Police said he blew a .08 on a breathalyzer test. He has a court date for Dec. 18. "I made an error in judgment last night for which I take full responsibility," Allmendinger said in a statement released by RPM. "I went out to dinner and I had a couple of drinks. I honestly felt fine but I obviously should have erred more on the side of caution particularly given what I do for a living. It was a bad judgment call and I apologize for that ... To my fans, sponsors, team and NASCAR. If anything good can come of this then hopefully I can be an example of being more aware of drinking responsibly and if even if you feel fine, take a cab, call a friend ... just don't risk it. I will do my best to make it right and use this to learn myself and hopefully educate others." RPM officials said Allmendinger will be in the car this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.(ESPN.com)(10-29-2009)
UPDATE 2: A statement from Richard Petty: "I am deeply disappointed this has happened. AJ has accepted full responsibility for his actions and will work to make this right. On behalf of everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports we sincerely apologize to our fans and partners."(RPM PR)(10-29-2009)
UPDATE 3: AJ Allmendinger, driver for the #44 team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has been placed on probation until Dec. 31, 2009. Allmendinger has violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing) of the 2009 NASCAR rule book. (NASCAR PR)(10-29-2009)
UPDATE 4: Richard Petty Motorsports announced that it has taken the following actions in response to the incident involving driver A.J. Allmendinger: “We are disappointed with his actions. A.J. has told us that he has accepted full responsibility for his actions and will do what is right. We have placed A.J. on probation through the end of the 2010 racing season. In addition, he will be fined $10,000 which will be donated to charity.”(RPM PR)(10-30-2009)
UPDATE 5: AJ Allmendinger was administered a breathalyzer prior to Friday's first Sprint Cup practice at Talladega Superspeedway. Allmendinger has been placed on probation by NASCAR through the end of the season and, according to sources close to the situation, will be monitored closely by the governing body during that time. Allmendinger said he hopes the incident will not impact his future. "It's not the first I've ever made. It's the biggest mistake I've made to this magnitude. A lot of people make mistakes and get a second opportunity.''(ESPN.com)(10-30-2009)
Sadler in a Ford at Talladega AND more races: Richard Petty Motorsports driver Elliott Sadler will drive a [#19] Yates Racing Ford in next weekend's Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Sadler, who drove for Robert Yates Racing before moving to RPM, said it will be for only one race. RPM and Yates are in the final stages of a merger that will move RPM from Dodge to Ford in 2010. RPM owner Richard Petty said last week at Charlotte he hoped to use a Yates car for at least one race this season. Officials close to the situation said on Friday at Martinsville Speedway the plan is to put Sadler in the Ford regardless of whether the merger is finalized.(ESPN)(10-23-2009)
UPDATE: #44-AJ Allmendinger will run the last three races of the Sprint Cup season in a Ford Fusion, a team source told FOXSports.com. According to a Dodge source, #19-Elliott Sadler will drive a Ford beginning next week at Talladega and finish the season driving for the make. Their Richard Petty Motorsports teammates, Kasey Kahne and Reed Sorenson, will continue to drive Dodges for the rest of the year. RPM is currently in talks to merge with Yates Racing in 2010. Whether or not the deal goes through, RPM's majority owner George Gillett has said his organization will run Fords next year. Unlike the other RPM teams, Allmendinger's #44 car is not under contract with Dodge so the switch is able to be made early. Sadler's #19 team was let out of its contract. Additionally, RPM General Manager Roobie Loomis confirmed Friday that Allmendinger will drive a Ford at Daytona International Speedway during the Goodyear tire test on Nov. 2-3. That Ford will be equipped with the new FR9 engine, allowing the team to work on the balance of the car as the engine is located differently than the current Dodge engine.(FoxSports)(10-24-2009)
#44 crew to donate winnings; new sponsor: Richard Petty Motorsports’ #44 pit crew for driver AJ Allmendinger has so far claimed two Tissot Pit Road Precision awards and finished runner up in the Sprint Pit Crew Challenge in May when it worked as the #43 Petty team. Now the crew wants to play a role in something more important than racing—battling breast cancer and helping kids. The crew voted last week to donate a majority of the prize money it earned through the Tissot awards and pit stop competition to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Victory Junction. #44 Jackman Ed Watkins: “You rock and roll every Sunday supporting the race team and AJ in giving him fast pit stops. But this gives us an opportunity to support the community. We wanted to do something in the fight against breast cancer. We also wanted to find a way we could give underprivileged children a chance to attend the victory junction camp and experience the great campus the Petty’s have up there.” Allmendinger’s #44 Dodge will carry a Coleman Natural Food paint scheme this weekend at Martinsville Speedway in Allmendinger's 76th career start.(RPM)(10-22-2009)
McArdle back at the track: Mark McArdle, former director of competition at Richard Petty Motorsports, was at the track Friday for the first time since departing the team at Richmond in September. McArdle and the team parted ways after a disagreement between McArdle and car owner George Gillett. McArdle is looking for a position with another team in the sport but has to receive approval from Richard Petty Motorsports. Most contracts feature non-compete clauses and require a team's approval to move to another team.
McArdle would not discuss details of his departure except to say it was time for a change. "I've always advised those who work under me that if the bus is going somewhere you don't want to go, then maybe you need to get off the bus,'' he said.(Roanoke Times)(10-17-2009)
RPM could use Ford engine this season: Richard Petty Motorsports is exploring the option of using a Ford engine in at least one of its four cars before the end of the season, team co-owner Richard Petty said on Thursday. Petty, whose team will continue to use Dodge engines this weekend at Lowe's Motor Speedway, said nothing can happen until the merger with Yates Racing is complete. He gave no timetable, saying only that "it's in the hands of lawyers." But Petty said switching at least one car to a Ford before the end of the season is the goal, if the transition can be worked out. He could not say whether #9-Kasey Kahne, who is in the championship Chase for the Sprint Cup, would be that driver. "Right now there are like 400 options," Petty said. "We don't know right now if we'll make the transition before the end of this season or do it all before the start of next season."(ESPN)(10-15-2009)
Roush to visit RPM: Jack Roush is scheduled to take a tour of the Richard Petty Motorsports facility on Wednesday.
Other managers from Roush Fenway Racing will join Rosuh on the tour of the Statesville, N.C., shop. There have been ongoing talks since before September of a merger between Yates Racing, a sister organization of Roush Fenway, and RPM. Regardless of whether RPM merges with Yates, majority team owner George Gillett has said his team will be running Fords in 2010. Given that Roush is the principal supplier of Ford engines, RPM will be working directly with RFR in one form or another.(FoxSports), see an image of a real #9 Budweiser Ford for 2010 on my #9 Team Schemes page.(10-14-2009)
Allmendinger in a Ford at Lowe's? Sadler at 'Dega? Richard Petty Motorsports has had a Ford in its possession ready to race since after New Hampshire. It would not be a surprise if AJ Allmendinger is driving a Fusion at Lowe's Motor Speedway next weekend or the week after that. Once the #44 car flips over to Ford, it will remain a Fusion the rest of the season. In addition to Allmendinger, Elliott Sadler is expected to drive a Roush-prepared Ford with a Yates engine at Talladega. Whether or not RPM's proposed merger with Yates Racing goes through, team owner George Gillett has said his team will run Ford's next season.(FoxSports)(10-11-2009)
New sponsor for Allmendinger at ACS: A.J. Allmendinger Sorenson drives the #44 Dassault Systemes Dodge for Richard Petty Motorsports this weekend at Auto Club Speedway. Dassault Systemes (pronounced: duh-so-Systemes) is the second largest software company in Europe specializing in software that allows companies to create in 3-D. The Petty team along with nearly all Formula One teams use the Paris-based company’s software to design cars and components in virtual reality.(RPM Facebook), see an image of the scheme on my #44 Team Schemes page.(10-7-2009)
Gillett says Yates-RPM merger on track UPDATE: George Gillett Jr., majority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports [#9,19,43,44], said he hopes to form a stock-car league in Saudi Arabia as part of a contractual agreement he signed this week with Saudi Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud, a member of the Saudi Royal Family. But Gillett emphasized that he is not selling the team. He said he hopes to finalize a merger with Yates Racing soon, and that RPM will race Fords in 2010. Gillett felt the need to address many issues about RPM after some reports this week falsely stated Gillett's new deal with the Saudi prince would lead to the prince's sports management team taking over RPM. "I came back from Europe into a maelstrom of massively inaccurate stories," Gillett said Saturday at Kansas Speedway. "So I thought we could correct it and move forward. As part of out conversations [with the Saudis], it became clear we should have aligned interest. We discussed if they had an interest in buying a small interest in RPM. A majority? Heck no. It was a very early conversation, but it was completely distorted. I come here today as a man with a clear conscious and potentially a very attractive partner. If he becomes a small investor [in RPM] I can't imagine it would be anything but positive for the sport. That's the story." Gillett said he and the Saudis are in the talks to form some type of stock-car league overseas Gillett said the merged RPM/Yates operation will be at least a three-car team and hopefully four cars. He would not confirm who if those four drivers would be Kasey Kahne, A.J. Allmendinger, Elliott Sadler and Paul Menard, which was reported earlier.(ESPN)(10-3-2009)
UPDATE: “The Yates transaction is on track,” said Gillett, whose RPM organization fields cars for A.J. Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson in the Sprint Cup Series. “We’re going now from letter of intent to a full contract.”(Racin' Today)(10-4-2009)
Petty says merger neogiations still ongoing: Richard Petty Motorsports co-owner Richard Petty says that negotiations on the team’s proposed merger with Yates Racing are continuing, and he still expects the deal to be completed. RPM and Yates officials announced Sept. 10 that they planned to merge. At the time, Petty said he thought the deal would close within a few weeks. “It’s still in negotiations, and so far they ain’t signed nothing,” Petty said Wednesday following a news conference to promote the upcoming races at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “I feel like if it went this far, we are going to go forward with it.”(SceneDaily)(10-1-2009)
Gillett, RPM partnering with Saudi Prince UPDATE2 Petty comments: In what could turn out to be one of the oddest pairings in the history of American stock car racing, Richard Petty Motorsports' primary shareholder George Gillett Tuesday signed an 'exclusive commercial collaboration' agreement for his stake in the team to Prince Faisal bin Fahd bin Abdullah al-Saud, a member of the Saudi Royal Family. The agreement signed Tuesday forms a partnership that will see the development of a NASCAR racing circuit and Richard Petty racing schools in the Saudi Kingdom and elsewhere in the Middle East. "The Middle East sport market has immense growth potential as eager fans in the region demand access to more diverse, higher caliber competition. I am delighted, enthusiastic, and honored to have the opportunity to partner with such a visionary in His Highness Prince Faisal," said Gillett after the signing. According to many however, the agreement signed Tuesday is the first step to Gillett selling his stake in the team. As the two were publicly confirming the agreement, behind the scenes, Gillett and Prince Faisal acting on behalf of the Saudi sports investment group F6 he chairs, have begun a process of 'due diligence', the examination of financial records, with the goal being that Gillett would be bought out by the end of the year. The primary deal in the works actually centers on British football club Liverpool that Gillett owns a 50% stake in, but the deal would also include Richard Petty Motorsports. The Prince was at Anfield Stadium in England on Saturday as a guest Gillett, who confirmed that he has secured funding from the Saudi prince for his NASCAR team and an agreement to build Liverpool-branded football academies in the Middle East. The entire deal is reportedly worth up to $560 million.(NASCAR Examiner)
UPDATE Foster Gillett has confirmed there are no major ownership changes contemplated at Richard Petty Motorsports. The Gilletts are the majority owners of Richard Petty Motorsports and plan on being so for a long time.(RPM)(9-29-2009)
UPDATE2: Richard Petty Motorsports co-owner Richard Petty said he didn’t know much about the business relationship formed between RPM majority owner George Gillett and Saudi Prince Faisal bin Fahad bin Abdullah Al Saud to explore commercial opportunities with Gillett and his soccer and motorsports properties. “That’s one of George’s deals,” Petty said. “You’ll have to talk him on that. That’s purely his deal. He’d been meeting with these guys for a pretty good while about his [English] football team.”(SceneDaily)(10-1-2009)
Drivers racing at East Lincoln Speedway: Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and A.J. Allmendinger will join Ray Evernham at East Lincoln Speedway on Wednesday night September 30th as Stanley presents a special night to help raise money for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Charlotte Affiliate to help fund life-saving breast cancer community outreach programs. Kahne, Sadler and Evernham will be aboard specially designed open wheel race cars in a match race and Sadler will also be the guest commentator for the event.(East Lincoln Speedway PR)
AND: David Reutimann and Erik Darnell are set to join a host of NASCAR stars at East Lincoln Speedway on Wednesday night September 30th as Stanley presents ‘Real Drivers Wear Pink.’(Gaston Gazette)(9-29-2009)
Petty-Yates deal still pending: The two big unknowns about the pending merger between Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing can be summed up in two words: "When?" and "If." The two sides have executed a letter of intent and are working toward finalizing the deal. The new organization will continue under the Richard Petty Motorsports name and will switch from Dodge to Ford next season. According to a joint release two weeks ago at Richmond, the team's lineup will include current RPM drivers #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #44-A.J. Allmendinger as well as Yates driver #98-Paul Menard. Team co-owner Richard Petty estimated Sept. 12 at Richmond that the deal could be concluded within two weeks, but that projection now appears optimistic, as the parties are still ironing out the details. Menard is a key element, in that he brings with him sponsorship from Menards, the Midwestern home-improvement chain founded and owned by his father, John Menard. Though Paul Menard affirmed his commitment to the deal Friday at Dover International Speedway, his assessment of the merger was frequently qualified by the word "if."(Sporting News/NASCAR.com)(9-27-2009)
Allmendinger drove for free earlier; could be in a Ford by Talladega: Richard Petty Motorsports' Executive Director of Race Operations Robbie Loomis says the team could field a Ford before the end of the 2009 season. Loomis told FoxSports.com's Lee Spencer, "I don't want to talk about things that are pure speculation, but I don't think it would surprise anybody if we did." A spokesperson for RPM told Sirius Speedway today that there are no plans to field a Ford before 2010, but off the record, sources inside RPM say that the team has already built at least one Ford Fusion, installing a Ford powerplant in an existing RPM chassis. Initial plans were to have #44-AJ Allmendinger debut the car at Kansas Speedway next week, but that timetable was pushed back when Roush-Fenway Racing's Jack Roush expressed reservations about the quick ramp-up. Now, tentative plans call for Allmendinger to drive a Richard Petty Motorsports Ford at Talladega Superspeedway on November 1, with additional outings possible -- though not certain -- at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami Speedways. Calls to Richard Petty Motorsports seeking comment were not immediately returned. Loomis also confirmed today that #43-Reed Sorenson is not the first RPM driver to race for free, saying that Allmendinger also waived his paycheck for a time, in order to remain on the racetrack. "AJ and all the employees at Richard Petty Motorsports made sacrifices in order to continue being a four-car team," he said. "When those guys stepped up, it really said a lot to me about the character of Reed Sorenson, AJ Allmendinger and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports."(Sirius-Speedway)(9-25-2009)
RPM & McArdie part ways UPDATE: The deal between Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing already has cost one top official his job. Richard Petty, the minority owner of RPM, said on Saturday that Mark McArdle, the vice president and managing director of competition at RPM, was fired on Friday after a heated confrontation with team co-owner George Gillett Jr. at Richmond International Raceway. Petty would not speculate on how many others in the engine and chassis department might lose jobs if RPM uses Roush-Yates engines and Roush Fenway chassis as planned. Petty said RPM is moving from Dodge to Ford because Dodge could not offer financial support for 2010 and beyond. Yates already has a financial commitment for two Ford teams, and Petty hopes that will increase once the economy is restored.(ESPN.com)(9-13-2009)
UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports today announced the departure of Mark McArdle, the team’s vice-president and managing director of competition. “The company and Mark have decided to go in different directions. It was an amicable departure and we are finalizing some details with him,” said Rick Russell, team president. “We appreciate all of Mark’s many contributions and wish him well in all future endeavors he may pursue.” McArdle said his departure comes after achieving his goal of restoring the team to championship contention. “We have all worked really hard to get Richard Petty Motorsports back in the Chase and we accomplished that goal Saturday night,” McArdle said. “Everyone at the team should take great pride in that. I wish the company nothing but success in the future. There will be nobody rooting harder for the #9 to win the championship than me.”(RPM)(9-17-2009)
Berlin City sponsorship on the #44 at NHMS: AJ Allmendinger drives the #44 Berlin City Auto Group Dodge this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Berlin City Auto Group, with dealerships throughout New England, specializes in the sales, service and parts for automotive manufacturers and pre-owned vehicles. “This is the same paint scheme we ran up there in June. Our owner George Gillett also owns the Berlin City Auto group and they used to sponsor Dave Dion in a lot of races in the area. Race fans asked about it last time we were up there. I’m glad we are running it again this weekend. I love the history of the sport and if it helps remind people of some of the history then that’s a good thing. There aren’t many orange and white cars out there these days.” Sunday marks Allmendinger’s 71st start in Sprint Cup racing (RPM). See image of the scheme on my #44 Team Schemes page.(9-15-2009)
Petty would like to put Allemndinger in the #43: Richard Petty, the minority owner of RPM, said no decision has been made on who will take over the famed #43 that he drove to seven championships, but added that he would like to see Allmendinger in the car if all sponsors agree.(ESPN.com)(9-13-2009)
More details on the Petty 'buyout' of Yates: The deal that brought together Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing for next season is more of a buyout than a merger, minority owner Richard Petty said on Friday. "We're basically taking over their deal," the seven-time Sprint Cup champion said before qualifying at Richmond International Raceway. "As far as I know all of that whole operation will be Richard Petty Motorsports." Petty said George Gillett Jr., who declined to comment earlier Friday, would remain the controlling owner. He said Robbie Loomis, the executive director of race operations at RPM, will continue to run day to day operations.
He was unsure what role Max Jones, who co-owned Yates Racing with Doug Yates, would take but speculated that he would stay on as the general manager. Jones declined to comment. Sources close to the situation said Yates would continue to run the Roush-Yates engine program that will supply engines to RPM's four teams -- Paul Menard from Yates and Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and A.J. Allmendinger from RPM. Petty said plans are to move from RPM's Statesville, N.C., shop to Yates' facility in Concord, N.C., to be closer to Roush Fenway Racing, which will continue to supply parts, pieces and technical support as it did with Yates. Because engines will come from Roush-Yates, RPM will have to shut down its engine department that employed more than 40 people. Petty said the potential of letting more people go during tough economic times was the tough part of the deal.(in part from ESPN.com)(9-12-2009)
Allmendinger discusses Petty-Yates merger: Thursday, September 10, 2009 on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with #44 RPM Dodge driver A.J. Allmendinger after the announcement that Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing have signed a letter of intent to merge for the 2010 season and race a four car team in Fords:
Host, Dave Moody: “How long have you known about this?”
A.J. Allmendinger: “I think probably just about as long as you guys have. Maybe an hour earlier. I knew about an hour earlier.”
Moody: “Is it safe to say there are going to be a lot of really surprised folks wandering around the halls at RPM and Yates Racing today?”
Allmendinger: “In certain ways, yes. In certain ways, maybe not, no. Just because over the last, heck, I mean, how many months has it been that people have known that we’ve been out there looking at manufacturers. And Foster Gillett and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports has been working hard to find the right home for us to go to. Yeah, maybe in certain ways, just kinda how quick it all happened but in other ways, no, just because like I said, they’ve been working hard and there’s been no secret especially over the last couple of months about them looking at manufacturers. Obviously, Toyota was probably the main one that was put out there but they’ve been kind of exhausting every possibility and I think with what just happened the whole team is excited. I know I’m pumped up about it to be able to work with Ford and be a part of that. It’s going to be a good thing.”
“Obviously, all the horsepower that Yates puts out is pretty awesome to have and we’re pretty excited about it. We’ve been working really hard, especially on the chassis. We’ve gotten the chassis a lot better at Richard Petty Motorsports and everybody in the engine shop has been doing a good job there. We’ve just been just lacking a little bit but I’m excited about that because we’ve worked really hard especially over the last few months to make these cars handle good and we put some Yates horsepower under it, it’s going to be a good thing.”
Moody: “We would assume that the legendary #43 would continue. Have they told you yet who drives it?”
Allmendinger: “Haven’t told me yet so I don’t know, Moody. You seem to know more than I usually do so when you find that out let me know, please. I’d love to drive it. The history behind it. In a way, obviously I already get to drive for the King and a lot of ways with being a part of Richard Petty Motorsports and kind of looking at the #43 and #44 cars as still the stable mate of the King’s cars, but I’d love to be driving that #43. As a racecar driver and more of a racecar fan, I love the history of motorsports and obviously the #43 is one of those numbers throughout all types of auto racing that stands out. So if I got a chance to be in it I’d jump at it in a heartbeat.” “SIRIUS Speedway” airs every weekday (3-7 pm ET) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio 128.(SIRIUS XM Radio)(9-11-2009)
Gillett about finalizes Montreal Canadiens sale: George Gillett, tears in his eyes, announced Thursday that the sale of the Canadiens to the Molson family is all but finalized, saying his eight years as owner of the historic team were the best of his family's life. He says his one regret was not to have won a Stanley Cup during his tenure with the Canadiens. The sale confirmation comes on the same day Quebec announces a $75-million loan to facilitate the transaction. The government loan hinges on a guarantee the hockey club stays in Montreal. Closing is expected to take place in the next few weeks, subject to ultimate approval by the National Hockey League, according to a statement released by the partnership purchasing the team. In addition to the Molson brothers and members of their family, the partners include Bell, the Woodbridge Company Limited, the QFL Solidarity Fund, Michael Andlauer and Luc Bertrand. Two thirds of the capital is invested by Quebec-based partners.(Montreal Gazette), Gillett is co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports [#9, #19, #43, #44 teams](9-11-2009)
Richard Petty Motorsports to run Fords in 2010, merge w/Yates: Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing announced today they have signed a letter of intent to merge operations in time for the 2010 season. The four-car team will race Fords under the Richard Petty Motorsports banner.
Richard Petty: “This is a pretty big deal for us. We’re thrilled to partner with Ford. We’ve talked with a lot of folks, but in the end it came down to the success the Gilletts and I think we can achieve with Ford Racing. Right now this deal is real new. There are lots of details still left to be ironed out so we don’t have a lot of answers for anyone right now. We’ll be working on all that in the coming days, weeks and months, but we do intend to have everything in place before the start of next season. I’ve won races with Ford and plan to again.”
Team Managing Partner Foster Gillett: “Richard and Kasey (Kahne) showed us Sunday night in Atlanta that they like winning quite a bit and Ford is going to provide the support that we need to go to victory lane more often. If you are going to compete with the other teams in this sport you need a lot of support. We bring a lot to this relationship as well. We’ve won twice this season and the power of Richard Petty is hard to beat, plus we have the support of some of the biggest names in corporate America.”
Yates Racing Co-owner Max Jones: “This is certainly a great opportunity for both Yates Racing as well as Ford Racing. I have had a long-term relationship with Ford and look forward to continuing that relationship at Richard Petty Motorsports. Over the coming weeks we will continue to work with Ford and Richard Petty to lay out the best plan for Paul Menard and all of the employees at Yates Racing. We will continue to field both the #98 and #96 Ford Fusions for the remainder of the season and look forward to continued success on the track with Paul, Bobby Labonte and Erik Darnell.”
Yates Racing Co-owner Doug Yates: “This plan is clearly in the best interest of the Ford Racing community. On a personal level, I am excited about the opportunity to focus my full energy on building Ford horsepower. We look forward to working with Richard Petty Motorsports to produce power second to none. There are many details to be worked out with Richard Petty Motorsports and as we finalize those details we will keep everyone informed.”
Director of Ford North America Motorsports Brian Wolfe: "I am very pleased that Richard Petty Motorsports has made the decision to switch to Ford for the 2010 season. They had choices to consider other than Ford and it's gratifying to us that they have enough faith in the Ford Motor Company and what we're doing to make the switch. We believe we can provide them with superior analytical tools and powertrain, and we will work with them closely on the technical front to help them become even more competitive than they are. What's also really cool to me is the chance to have someone with the class and the legacy of Richard Petty involved with Ford. Combine that with the chance to work with the Gillett family, who we have great respect for, and add some great drivers to the Ford camp, well, it's hard not to be excited about this opportunity."
Note: Paul Menard will be one of the drivers in the Petty team joining #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #44-AJ Allmendinger.(Richard Petty Motorsports)
and the PR doesn't mention Reed Sorenson or what car number Menard will run and with this merger, looks like the #26 Roush Fenway Racing team may now go away as they it not merge with Yates Racing now, since Yates and RPM merging is at the four car limit mandated by NASCAR. So unless something changes, two more cars/teams are lost: would expect RPM to run the #9, #19 and #43 so either the #44 team or the #98 team would go away and the #26 Ford that was rumored to be going to Yates.
UPDATE: on Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 128, Sirius Speedway radio show, Reed Sorenson, current driver of the #43 RPM Dodge, was interviewed and said he knew a few weeks ago that he would not be back with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2010 and he is looking for a ride in 2010. Sorenson says he has enjoyed working with all his current sponsors in 2009 and a few would like to stay with him.(9-10-2009)
Petty staying with Dodge? It appears Richard Petty Motorsports will not move from Dodge to Toyota next season. At least that's the impression that Lee White, who heads Toyota Racing Development, gave last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. White said he believes that Mike Accaviti, the president of the Dodge brand, is doing all he can to keep RPM in the fold. He also said that would be a good thing, that the sport needs all four manufacturers to be strong. He actually seemed to wish them luck and didn't seemed bothered that Toyota will not be welcoming in another organization. It makes sense -- Toyota's interest in RPM was tweaked when Red Bull Racing appeared set to leave the fold for General Motors and an association with Hendrick Motorsports. Now that Red Bull is set to re-sign with Toyota, there is not the urgency to get another organization. Having said that, there are no guarantees that RPM will be back with Dodge even if Toyota is out of the picture. The organization has had talks with General Motors as well. But all signs point to Dodge fielding cars for RPM and Penske Racing moving forward.(ESPN Insider)(8-27-2009)
Allmendinger testing Late Mode UPDATE: Hearing that A.J. Allmendinger is testing some Late Model Crate [Travis Lawson's car] and Late Model cars Monday at Cherokee Speedway in preparation for the upcoming [Sept 9th] Prelude to the Dream at Tony Stewart's Eldora Speedway.(8-17-2009)
UPDATE: Jeremy Clements, former Cherokee Speedway Track Champion was on hand to shake down the cars, both the Crate Late Model of Travis Lawson and the #75 Beaver Bail Bonds Car driven by Petey Ivey. Ivey has won two Carolina Clash races in recent weeks.(Cherokee Speedway)(8-18-2009)
RPM Still Talking To Toyota: Multiple sources at Richard Petty Motorsports tell Sirius Speedway that RPM is still mulling the possibility of moving its entire operation to the Toyota camp in 2010. RPM spokesmen have downplayed reports of a possible manufacturer switch in recent weeks, but sources say that talks are ongoing with both Dodge and Toyota. No decisions have been made, but in an attempt to cover all their bases, the team recently had a series of publicity photos taken of Kasey Kahne and a Budweiser-sponsored #9 Toyota Camry.(Sirius Speedway)(8-12-2009)
#43 and #44 Crew Chief and Crew Switch official: Crew Chief Mike Shiplett and the crew that fielded the #43 Dodges for Reed Sorenson will begin working on the #44 Dodge with A.J. Allmendinger at Michigan and the rest of the 2009 season. Sam Johns and his crew that worked on the #44 will begin working on the #43 with Sorenson at Michigan. At Michigan, the #44 will sport a Super 8 scheme while the #43 Dodge will have Bumper to Bumper colors. Says Allmendinger:" I’m pumped about working with Mike (Shiplett) and his crew again. We went testing at Dover last week and worked real well together. Sammy Johns and those guys did a heck of a job getting us ready to go racing right before the season and we had some really good runs. They are going to go over with Reed (Sorenson) and we’ll pool the information and improve our teams. We’re here to win and get a jump on 2010. Mike and I want to work on everything that will make us a contender the rest of the season and hit the ground running in Daytona in February.”(Richard Petty Motorsports)(8-12-2009)
More on possible changes within RPM UPDATE 2: Despite recent rumors that Richard Petty Motorsports would be a three-car team by Watkins Glen next weekend, the King said Sunday at Pocono Raceway that there will be four cars through the end of the season. "We're going to have four cars, but we're going to do some changing around," Petty said. "We're looking to finish up this season (and) preparing for next season. We've got one car, hopefully, that's going to be in the Chase and the other three we've got to get squared away and anticipate for next year. There will be some swapping around with different personnel and stuff like that to put in motion this year the opportunity to see how it works in preparation for next year. Then if it doesn't work, we've still got time to make changes for next year." Don't be surprised if there isn't a crew chief change among the non-title contending teams — #19, #43 and/or #44 — before the Chase begins.(FoxSports)(8-3-2009)
UPDATE The #43-Sorenson and #44-Allmendinger teams at Richard Petty Motorsports will change crew chiefs and crews following the race at Watkins Glen. According to team sources, drivers Reed Sorenson and AJ Allmendinger will remain with their respective car numbers and sponsors. However, Mike Shiplett will now oversee the #44 Dodge with Allmendinger and Sammy Johns will be the crew chief for Sorenson and the #43 squad. The cars and equipment will remain with the crew chiefs.(Foxsports)(8-3-2009)
UPDATE: it has reported a few times on TV coverage this weekend that the #43 and #44 crew chief's and crews have made the swap BUT have been told by RPM reps that the change has not been made yet and that Mike Shiplett is still crew chiefing the #43 Dodge of Reed Sorenson and Sammy Johns is still crew chiefing the #44 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger. And see image of the #43 McDonald's Angus Third Pounders scheme.(8-8-2009)
More on possible changes within RPM UPDATE: Despite recent rumors that Richard Petty Motorsports would be a three-car team by Watkins Glen next weekend, the King said Sunday at Pocono Raceway that there will be four cars through the end of the season. "We're going to have four cars, but we're going to do some changing around," Petty said. "We're looking to finish up this season (and) preparing for next season. We've got one car, hopefully, that's going to be in the Chase and the other three we've got to get squared away and anticipate for next year. There will be some swapping around with different personnel and stuff like that to put in motion this year the opportunity to see how it works in preparation for next year. Then if it doesn't work, we've still got time to make changes for next year." Don't be surprised if there isn't a crew chief change among the non-title contending teams — #19, #43 and/or #44 — before the Chase begins.(FoxSports)(8-3-2009)
UPDATE The #43-Sorenson and #44-Allmendinger teams at Richard Petty Motorsports will change crew chiefs and crews following the race at Watkins Glen. According to team sources, drivers Reed Sorenson and AJ Allmendinger will remain with their respective car numbers and sponsors. However, Mike Shiplett will now oversee the #44 Dodge with Allmendinger and Sammy Johns will be the crew chief for Sorenson and the #43 squad. The cars and equipment will remain with the crew chiefs.(Foxsports)(8-3-2009)
RPM downsizing? Sorenson out? UPDATE2 denied: Rumors persist that Richard Petty Motorsports will shrink to three cars in the next few weeks, with A.J. Allmendinger moving to the #43 Dodge, replacing Reed Sorenson, and the #44 team being shut down.(Ford Racing)(7-29-2009)
UPDATE: An internet report claiming that Reed Sorenson will be released by Richard Petty Motorsports as part of a downsizing of the team's Sprint Cup roster appears to be premature. The Ford Racing website reported on rumors that Sorenson will be replaced by former Champ Car star A.J. Allmendinger when Allmendinger's #44 Dodge is mothballed within the next few weeks. However, a source close to the team -– speaking on the condition of anonymity –- said today that while the move is being discussed, Sorenson's release is not yet a done deal. "No one is sure that it's going to happen," said the source, "but it's definitely being talked about. The team is working on the details right now." If RPM does indeed decide to trim its roster from four cars to three, Allmendinger's current sponsors would transfer to the #43 Dodge. Calls to Richard Petty Motorsports seeking comment were not immediately returned.(Sirius Speedway)(7-29-2009)
UPDATE: a Richard Petty Motorsports representative says that the team will remain a four car team and Sorenson will stay with the #43 team.(7-31-2009)
- Petty working with Chrysler on debt; Kahne in Toyota in Nationwide next year: Chrysler is working on a deal to pay off some of its debt to Richard Petty Motorsports [#9, #19, #43, #44] , co-owner Richard Petty said on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. Petty said last month that Chrysler's bankruptcy put cash flow from the manufacturer to the organization on hold. The subsequent layoff of nine RPM employees also was blamed on anticipated cuts from the bankruptcy. "They've stopped everything,'' he said of Chrysler's support. Petty said on Friday that RPM should expect some money soon. "Yeah, we'll get some money from them,'' he said. "Right now we're in the process of figuring out exactly what they can do to get back to us to see what we can do." Petty's initial comments increased speculation that RPM may leave Dodge for Toyota after this season. The organization is in the final year of its contract and has partnered with Toyota's Braun Racing for five Nationwide Series races in 2009.(ESPN.com)
AND: Braun Racing [Nationwide Series team] announced that Great Clips, Inc., will return for another three seasons to sponsor the #38 Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Jason Leffler will pilot the #38 Great Clips Camry for 27 of the 35 scheduled races while Kasey Kahne will drive the #38 in the remaining eight races.(Braun Racing PR)(7-4-2009)
- PVA/Petty scheme for Allmendinger: The Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway marks the 25th anniversary of Richard Petty’s 200th victory. The Paralyzed Veterans of America is running a tribute paint scheme on the #44 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger in honor of the anniversary.(RPM)(7-1-2009)
- Different colors for Allmendinger at NHMS: AJ Allmendinger drives the #44 Berlin City Auto Group Dodge this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Allmendinger: “Our owner George Gillett also owns the Berlin City Auto group and they tell me Dave Dion used to be sponsored by Berlin City Auto Group with an orange paint scheme that you could spot anywhere on the track. We are running a version of that paint scheme this weekend. I think all the long time racing fans in New England will know what I’m talking about. I’m sure that will bring back memories. Berlin City was on the pole for this race last year so hopefully we’ll give them something as exciting this year.” The Berlin City Auto Group with dealerships throughout New England, specializes in the sales, service and parts for automotive manufacturers and pre-owned vehicles.(RPM), see images of the scheme on my #44 Team Schemes page.(6-24-2009)
- "The King" dicusses Toyota rumors: Tuesday, June 23rd on “Sirius Speedway” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with NASCAR legend Richard Petty. Petty was asked about the rumors that Richard Petty Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne might be switching from a Dodge to a Toyota.
Host, Dave Moody: “Lot of rumors swirling around about Kasey Kahne and a possible affiliation with Toyota, on again, off again, conversations that may or may not be happening. What can you tell us on that, if anything?”
Richard Petty: “Exactly what you just said. That’s how much I know about it, too. It’s all swirling around. You grab some of it. I don’t really know, okay? And I don’t think anybody knows right now exactly where we’re sitting, what we’re gonna do, what’s gonna happen, you know, three weeks from now let alone the beginning of next year. We’re like everybody else. We’re trying to put ourselves together with our sponsor deals, make sure we’ve got monetary deals to be able to go do the deal. Then we’re going to look at whatever we think is going to be the best for Richard Petty Motorsports in the short run and the long run. Because after being here for 50 or 60 years anyway I’m not looking for a quick fix, okay? We’re trying to put stuff together so that we can go on down the road next year, the year after next, the year after that. What happens? I don’t know. We’re open about anything right now to look at. So we’re going to put everything on the table and then we’re going to say, ‘Okay, this happens and that happens and this over here happens.’ Then we hope we’ll make the right decisions on where we go. Other than that, that’s about all I know about it.”
Moody: “I know you’ve been fiercely loyal to Dodge over the years but at the end of the day loyalty doesn’t feed the dog, does it?”
Petty: “Well, you’ve got to look at it from the standpoint that can Dodge be loyal to us now that the government owns Chrysler, okay, or whoever owns it? So I don’t know if the people that are head of what’s going on right now, are they race fans? If they are then that’s going to be great. But if they’re not then, you know, it affects so many people and there’s so much going on out there, under the table deal or under the ground, that we don’t know about. So what Dodge does next year or what Chevrolet does or what Ford does or Toyota or whoever, we’re just going to have to sort of wait and let things sort of let the dust settle and then we’re going to run in there and pick up the best thing we can.”
Moody: “Would it be even theoretically feasible to field two different brands of race cars out of the same race shop? Could that be done?”
Petty: “You know, I’ve asked the same question. (laughs) Really, I have. I said, ‘What if?’ And I think that’s what we’re gonna have to do. We’re gonna have to say, ‘What if?’ and then see if it’s done and what would it be to be able to do something like that. The problem I see with running two different kinds of cars out of the same shop is basically the engine shop. The cars have got the same wheels, same brakes, same chassis, same basic body so all that stuff would be easy. The big deal was how could you do the motor situation? That would be the big question mark. I don’t know if it’s ever been done but if it could be done we could probably do it.”
“SIRIUS Speedway” airs every weekday (3-7 pm ET) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.(SIRIUS XM Radio)(6-24-2009)
- Kahne to Toyota? by August? denied UPDATE 4: Speculation is increasing that Dodge driver #9-Kasey Kahne, who runs for Richard Petty, could switch to a Toyota by the July 11th Sprint Cup race at Chicago. Petty has said that Chrysler has cut its payments to his four-car operation, and apparently Petty has only enough engine parts for one of the new Dodge NASCAR engines. Petty's business partner, George Gillett, tried last season to make a deal with Toyota. There is no immediate comment from Toyota officials.(mikemulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
UPDATE: And speculation that Richard Petty and Kasey Kahne could switch to Toyotas as soon as July?
Lee White, head of Toyota' racing development operations, says "I've never talked to the King or his driver. I'm pretty sure that no one at Toyota/TRD has talked to either of them."(mikemulhern.net)(6-22-2009)
UPDATE 2: Sirius Speedway has learned that Richard Petty Motorsports will begin fielding Toyotas for driver #9-Kasey Kahne in mid-August, with at least part of the team remaining in Dodge livery for the time being. Published reports this week claimed the team will begin fielding Toyotas for Kahne at Chicagoland Speedway on July 11, but an RPM source speaking on the condition of anonymity tells Sirius Speedway that the change will not happen until team officials are able to hammer out a financial settlement with their current manufacturer. “Dodge owes the team a ton of money, and they’re trying to negotiate some kind of settlement right now,” said one source. “Until that’s done, the team cannot make a move. Once the settlement is signed, you’ll see Kasey Kahne in a Toyota.” RPM’s familiar #43 – driven by Reed Sorenson – will remain in Dodge livery for the foreseeable future. A decision on future manufacturer affiliations for the #19 and #44 cars -- driven by Elliott Sadler and AJ Allmendinger – is pending.(Sirius Speedway)(6-22-2009)
UPDATE 3 - denied: Been told by sources within Richard Petty Motorsports that there are no plans to switch manufacturers with any of their Sprint Cups teams in 2009.(6-23-2009)
UPDATE 4: sources inside the walls at RPM say plans have been made to field Toyota Camrys for Kasey Kahne beginning in mid-August, as soon as team officials finalize a financial settlement package with Dodge. Those negotiations have reportedly taken a sudden turn in recent days, though, with the possibility now existing for Kahne and his RPM teammates to remain in the Dodge camp, after all.(Sirius Speedway)(6-23-2009)
- RPM owner sells NHL team: George N. Gillett Jr [owner of Richard Petty Motorsports #'s 9,19,43,44] and Geoff Molson announced that they have reached an agreement in principle for the sale of the Gillett family's interests in the Montreal Canadiens Hockey Club, the Bell Centre and Gillett Entertainment Group. They will hold a news conference as soon as the agreement is finalized.(NHL.com)(6-21-2009)
- RPM lays off nine employees, heading to Toyota?: Richard Petty Motorsports has laid off nine employees and reduced salaries throughout the organization, a byproduct of Chrysler's bankruptcy filing. A person familiar with the moves tells The Associated Press that RPM officials are anticipating significant cutbacks from Dodge. Chrysler is Dodge's parent company, and the automaker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month. Team co-owner Richard Petty has said the bankruptcy filing slowed the money flow from Dodge over the past few weeks. RPM fields cars for #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler, #43-Reed Sorenson and #44-AJ Allmendinger. The team has funded Allmendinger's car largely out of pocket all season. RPM is in the final year of its contract with Dodge, and the team is widely believed to be trying to negotiate a switch to Toyota in 2010. The team made a move in that direction late Monday by partnering with Braun Racing, a Toyota team, for five Nationwide Series races beginning with next month's event at Daytona. RPM gave no indication what brand, Dodge or Toyota, its drivers will use in the five races with Braun.(Associated Press)(6-8/9-2009)
- Dodge support "on hold" Team owner Richard Petty says the Chrysler bankruptcy has put cash flow from the manufacturer to the Richard Petty Motorsports organization he co-owns with George Gillett "in a holding pattern." From the point of view of the Dodge Motorsports program, however, the commitment to racing is undiminished. "They've stopped everything," Petty said in the garage at Dover International Speedway this past weekend. "They went into bankruptcy, and they're sort of in a floating stage right now. They're trying to see where they come out of this at. If they've got new people running the show, are they still going to continue to back everything exactly like they are, or whatever? They're in a holding pattern right now. I think GM's that way -- I don't know about Ford -- and I know Chrysler's that way. The rest of them I don't know. I don't deal with them." Walter Czarnecki, vice chairman of Penske Racing, which has three Dodge teams, said the legal proceedings also have held up payments to his organization. "In the legal procedure, you have to file what's called a 'Cure Letter' that lists all the things that you are owed. And when it's submitted and approved, they'll pay. We have money that was due April 30 that has not been received yet and probably won't be received for several weeks." Mike Accavitti, director of brand marketing and strategy for Chrysler, acknowledged the reorganization has affected the flow of cash from Chrysler but affirmed the company remains committed to Cup racing and that at-track services provided to the teams continue to be available.(NASCAR.com/Sporting News)(6-2-2009)
- “The King” and “King of Beers” Drive Home Responsible Drinking Message: “The King” and the “King of Beers” hope adult race fans cheering on their favorite NASCAR drivers will make responsible choices before the green flag waves. Richard Petty, the most decorated driver in the history of NASCAR, and Anheuser-Busch announced today they are teaming up on a new Budweiser responsibility campaign aimed at reminding fans to use a designated driver. The new campaign is being launched nationwide this week in time for Sunday’s NASCAR race in Charlotte. “Racing is about winning, and we think it’s important to remind fans that everyone wins by choosing a designated driver,” said Petty. “We’re very excited to work with Anheuser-Busch to help make sure everyone gets home safely on race day and anytime their activities include alcohol.” The campaign materials read, “Designated Drivers…Preferred By Kings Everywhere,” and include the text, “The King of the Road and the King of Beers remind you to choose a designated driver. Two out of three American adults have been or used a designated driver. Thanks for making sure everyone gets home safely.”
“It’s truly an honor for us to partner with Richard on this important message to race fans,” stated Carol Clark, Anheuser-Busch’s vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility. “Choosing a designated driver is a sure route to victory lane.”(Elevation Group)(5-23-2009)
- Reddin quits as RPM's CEO: Tom Reddin has resigned as chief executive officer at Richard Petty Motorsports, multiple team sources told ESPN.com on Friday. Foster Gillet, son of team owner George Gillet, will oversee day-to-day operations, effective immediately, team sources confirmed. Reddin joined RPM just prior to the start of the 2008 season, overseeing the organization's four Sprint Cup Series teams. The team's management had come under fire of late in the wake of poor performance and the residual frustration from its driving corps. Reddin wasn't immediately available for comment. Reddin came to RPM from LendingTree, where he was also CEO.(ESPN.com)(5-15-2009)
- Richard Petty Motorsports will hold a Fan Appreciation autograph session on Friday, May 22 at the team’s race shop in Statesville N.C. Five hundred custom-made, collectible tickets will be distributed at 10 a.m. the day of the event. At 11 a.m. each ticket holder will receive an autograph from drivers Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, AJ Allmendinger, Reed Sorenson as well as team co-owner Richard Petty.
The event will also include a radio remote from Sirius NASCAR radio, team show cars, behind the scenes look at the team shops, driver fan club displays, as well as a take home gift for each person that receives one of the commemorative tickets. The team museum and gift shop will open at 8 a.m. the day of the event. Richard Petty Motorsports is located at 320 Aviation Dr, Statesville, NC 28677, near the Statesville Regional Airport. If you are traveling from I-77, take I-40 West toward Hickory/Asheville to Exit 146, Stamey Farm Road. Turn left at the top of the ramp and cross over I-40. Go straight at the stop sign, and make the first left onto Aviation Drive.(5-8-2009)
- RPM plans to use new Dodge engine: Richard Petty Motorsports plans to switch to the new Dodge engine in time for the May 31 race at Dover, vice president of race operations Robbie Loomis said Tuesday. Loomis said only one of the organization's four drivers likely will use the R6P8 that the other Dodge organization, Penske Racing, has used all season. A decision on which driver will use it will be made in the upcoming weeks. #9-Kasey Kahne could get the nod if the organization believes the engine will help get him back into the top 12 to qualify for the Chase. RPM's marquee driver is 17th in points after Saturday night's 29th-place finish at Richmond. If not Kahne, then #44-A.J. Allmendinger (28th), #19-Elliott Sadler (29th) or #43-Reed Sorenson (22nd) will get the engine. "We talked about using it for the All-Star race or maybe the [Coca-Cola 600]," Loomis said of the upcoming races at Lowe's Motor Speedway. "It's just risk versus reward. We were not comfortable bringing it out in the 600." Loomis said RPM is about a month behind the planned schedule to introduce the engine. He said the process was slowed when the organization committed to Allmendinger beyond the first five races, noting that engineers who might have spent time on the R6P8 had to build engines for an additional car. Loomis said the lack of horsepower with the old engine has been obvious, particularly at Talladega Superspeedway, where RPM's top driver qualified 35th.(ESPN.com)(5-5-2009)
- PVA scheme for A.J. at Richmond: #44-A.J. Allmendinger takes his vote campaign to Richmond International Raceway for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup Series race on the three-quarter mile, D-shaped oval. Last weekend in Talladega, Allmendinger gave away about 250 pizzas to fans while his wife Lynne, and their Labrador Misty, one of the puppies featured in the movie Marley and Me, sported shirts seeking votes to gain entrance in the All-Star race in Charlotte. The top two finishers from the Sprint All-Star Challenge transfer into the All-Star race while the third is voted in by the race fans. The 27-year-old Californian has pledged to “do anything” to earn the fan vote if he doesn’t race his way into the field. At Richmond, Allmendinger’s Dodge will carry a paint scheme promoting the “King’s Cup Karting for a Cause” race on May 19 in Mooresville, N.C. The event will feature a four-hour endurance go-kart race, along with appearances by ‘The King’ Richard Petty and other Richard Petty Motorsports drivers, entertainment and a silent auction. Money raised goes to the Paralyzed Veterans of America.(RPM PR)(4-30-2009)
- RPM locks up Allmendinger UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports has picked up the option on #44-AJ Allmendinger's contract, locking up the driver through 2010. According to multiple sources, Joe Gibbs Racing had inquired about Allmendinger's status as they consider starting up a fourth team. RPM had an Aug. 15 deadline to pick up Allmendinger's option for 2010.(FoxSports)(4-17-2009)
UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports announced today AJ Allmendinger will race for the team in the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. “This was an easy decision for Richard Petty Motorsports,” said Tom Reddin, the team’s chief executive officer. “AJ has done a superb job, both on and off the track in 2009. We want to let everyone know that he’s going to be a vital part of Richard Petty Motorsports for what we believe will be a long-term, winning relationship.” The Petty team signed Allmendinger before the start of the 2009 season with plans to run the Bud Shootout and the first eight point races. Allmendinger finished fifth in the preseason Bud Shootout, and posted a third-place finish in the Daytona 500 and a ninth-place finish at Martinsville. He was the only driver without a guaranteed starting spot to qualify for all of the races in 2009. Sponsorship from Dodge, Hunt Brothers Pizza, Valvoline, Harrah’s, Super 8, the Paralyzed Veterans of America and Charter Communications extended Allmendinger’s schedule through the Sept. 12 Richmond race. Reddin said he is confident the team will secure the sponsorship needed to extend the number of races the 27-year-old Californian will run in 2009 for the full season. Allmendinger is 20th in points but only 104 points out of the 12th and final “Chase” position. “I’m thrilled about this,” Allmendinger said. “Racers are no different than anyone else. We like to know we have a job. I’m very thankful to be where I am and I expect we will keep running better and better each weekend. I think I have found a long-term home at Richard Petty Motorsports.”(RPM PR)(4-17-2009)
- Allmendinger being paid "creatively": How and when #44-A.J. Allmendinger is getting paid by troubled Richard Petty Motorsports depends on how creative your definition of "creative" is. "I am definitely getting paid," Allmendinger said in response to garage-area rumors to the contrary. "But we've had to be creative about it, for sure." Is he plowing all his race winnings back into the financially strapped team? "No, no, definitely not," he said. "We've just got to be creative about it." Sponsorship for six more races was announced this week from Hunt Brothers Pizza, which Allmendinger called "awesome news" in that it assures he'll race through the Sept. 12 event at Richmond, Va. "We've all been kind of taking every week as it comes," said his business manager, Tara Ragan. "We're pretty organic. There isn't even a hard, fast rule [for compensation]." Bottom line, "I'd rather be on the race track running strong than sitting at home," he said.(ESPN Insider)(4-10-2009)
- Allmendingers sched to get longer UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports is close to extending #44-A.J. Allmendinger's schedule beyond the Coca-Cola 600 on May 24. "If you had told me last year that I'd be 15th in points right now, I would have laughed at you," Allmendinger said. "But we're in striking distance of the top 12." With Allmendinger so close to the top 12 in points, RPM needs to decide whether it is committed to moving forward with the driver and the team before another organization snatches him up. According to multiple sources, Joe Gibbs Racing has already inquired about the driver's status. While RPM is currently securing additional sponsorship (potentially with Hunt Brothers Pizza) nothing will guarantee Allmendinger and the #44 Dodge's success faster than a revamped pit crew. Allmendinger inevitably loses positions every time he enters pit road. RPM has an Aug. 15 deadline to pick up Allmendinger's option for 2010.(FoxSports)(4-5-2009)
UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports announced that Hunt Brothers Pizza will sponsor AJ Allmendinger’s #44 Dodge for six races plus the All-Star race in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. The announcement extends Allmendinger’s season through the Sept. 12 Richmond race. The Petty team remains committed to racing Allmendinger in a full season of competition if its success in generating sponsorship continues. “This is awesome news,” said Allmendinger who is 20th in the point standings despite entering the year outside the top 35. “I want to thank Hunt Brothers Pizza for coming on board and supporting us. I know our fans and NASCAR fans in general certainly appreciate all they are doing for the sport. We plan to give Hunt Brothers Pizza a lot to talk about in the coming weeks.” Hunt Brothers Pizza said its interest in Allmendinger and the Petty team would be a huge hit with its team members as well as their customers in over 6,000 locations across the country. "Partnering with Richard Petty Motorsports is exciting for everyone involved with Hunt Brothers”, said Scott Hunt, CEO of Hunt Brothers Pizza. “We feel blessed to be in a position to support AJ while connecting with our convenience store customers, many of whom are NASCAR fans. Getting the opportunity to work with “The King” Mr. Richard Petty, AJ Allmendinger and all the professionals at Richard Petty Motorsports, offers us a unique opportunity. We are excited and looking forward to seeing the Hunt Brothers Dodge on the track.” Tom Reddin, CEO at Richard Petty Motorsports: "AJ has done a heck of a job placing the #44 in the top 20, and we've been able to form some great partnerships along the way with Hunt Brothers Pizza, Dodge, Valvoline, Charter Communications, Harrah's, Super 8 Hotels and Paralyzed Veterans of America," said Reddin. "The success we are having on and off the track has helped us extend our schedule for the 44 team at least through the second Richmond race, and with a little help from some additional partners, we should have a good shot at making a successful full season. We think the on-track performance of the 44 team, AJ's personality, and all the assets of the Richard Petty Motorsports organization makes this team a very attractive and unique opportunity for potential partners." Allmendinger will race the Hunt Brothers Pizza paint scheme April 26 at Talladega, May 16 in the All-Star race and May 24 in The Coke 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, July 11 in Chicagoland, Aug. 22 in Bristol, Sept. 6 in Atlanta, and Sept. 12 in Richmond. Allmendinger joined the Petty team for the final five races of the 2008 season. The Los Gatos, Calif. native is a five-time victor in open wheel racing who made the switch to NASCAR two years ago.(Richard Petty Motorsports PR), see images of the scheme on the #44 Team Schemes page.(4-8-2009)
- Allmendinger and Speed on USF1's short list UPDATE Speed says NO: Sources tell AutoRacingSport.com that NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers AJ Allmendinger and Scott Speed are 'definitely' on the short list of the newly formed USF1 Formula 1 team that's set to begin competition in 2010 while IndyCar star Danica Patrick and NASCAR Sprint Cup sensation 'Kyle Busch are not. Ken and Peter (Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor-USF1 team Principals) are really looking for open wheel experience, and Scott and AJ (Speed and Allmendinger) fit that bill quite well, with AJ being a winner in Champ Car and Scott having F1 experience.' our source informs us.(AutoRacingSport.com)(3-28-2009)
UPDATE: Oh yeah, there’s one other thing I [Scott Speed] wanted to mention. Even though I might talk fondly about my F1 days, I’m not going back. So don’t believe anything that anyone is saying about me joining the new U.S. F1 team next year. Those rumors were generated by journalists who were just being journalists, that’s all. So get used to me, I’m not going anywhere!(Frontstretch.com/Scott Speed Diary)(4-4-2009)
- NASCAR team owner to run Indy 500? UPDATE: According to a press release from TB Communications, a press conference has been scheduled for Monday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a "NASCAR team owner" to announce an entry into the 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24. The release said the team owner will be making his debut as a car owner in the Indy 500. Two Sprint Cup Series team owners can be eliminated. Roger Penske and Chip Ganassi have both won the Indy 500 as car owners. The NASCAR team owner announcing the entry is also expected to announce a major sponsor for the deal and also who will drive his car. The release did not say if the NASCAR team owner involved is an owner in the Sprint Cup Series.(Hartford Courant)(4-3-2009)
UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports will field an Indy 500 entry for driver John Andretti, sources have confirmed to NASCAR.COM. The official announcement will be made Monday. Given that RPM currently does not have an IndyCar operation, it was unclear Friday how the program would take shape.(NASCAR.com)(4-3-2009)
UPDATE 2: Richard Petty will make his first foray into the Indianapolis 500 as an owner when he fields a car for John Andretti in next month's race. A news conference is scheduled Monday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but details were confirmed Friday by a person familiar with the arrangement. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the deal has not been announced. In 1994, Andretti became the first driver to run both the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR event in Charlotte on the same day, finishing 10th at Indianapolis and crashing and finishing 36th at Lowe's Motor Speedway. Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon have both since done the double, but the grueling feat is no longer possible since Indianpolis changed its starting time several years ago.
Petty is a partner in NASCAR with George Gillett in Richard Petty Motorsports, the team formerly known as Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Gillett is not expected to be part of the Indy deal. Dreyer & Reinbold Racing, which runs the full IndyCar Series, will work with Petty at Indy, providing equipment and personnel.(Associated Press)(4-4-2009)
- Gillette could sell NHL team, could race team be next? UDPATE: denied There are no indications yet that the financial troubles apparently plaguing George Gillett will force him to sell part or all of his interest in Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM). ESPN.com reported on Monday that the 24-time Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens owned by Gillett could be sold in order for Gillett to divest some of his properties. Gillett also is the majority owner or RPM, the English Premier League soccer team Liverpool as well as several ski and golf clubs.
Two people close to RPM and its ownership are not aware of any plans to put the Sprint Cup organization on shopping block. That doesn't mean it couldn't change as the economy worsens. Gillett purchased Evernham Motorsports from then-owner Ray Evernham two years ago and renamed it Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Evernham still is a minority owner. Gillett recently purchased Petty Enterprises owned by seven-time Cup champion Richard Petty and renamed it RPM.(ESPN Insider)(3-24-2009)
UPDATE: Montreal Canadiens majority owner George N. Gillett Jr. Thursday vehemently denied that his hockey club is for sale, contradicting a rumored Forbes magazine report that ultimately never was published. The Colorado resident's finances have been ripe for speculation in recent days. His cash flow and debt load have been scrutinized in several published reports, especially related to his co-ownership of the Premier League's Liverpool Football Club. "The Montreal Canadiens club has never been for sale," Gillett said. "We have never prepared documents, materials. (I have) never authorized anyone, never prepared materials to that end. I'm angry that I need to keep denying (that the club is for sale)."(Yahoo Sports)(3-26-2009)
- RPM adds races to Allmendinger's sched: #44-AJ Allmendinger is confident that he not only will be rewarded next week with not having to worry about qualifying, he also will be awarded in future weeks with additional races to his original nine-race schedule for Richard Petty Motorsports. Originally Allmendinger was going to run the first eight events through Phoenix next month, but the team has added the four following points races – Talladega, Richmond, Darlington and Lowe’s Motor Speedway – in addition to NASCAR's Sprint All-Star Race. The other race, which already was on his schedule, is the July race at Daytona. Having pieced together sponsorship this year from Air Force, Valvoline, Charter, Harrah’s and LifeLock, the team has enough funds to keep Allmendinger in the seat at least through late May. Allmendinger has qualified for 10 consecutive events dating back to last season. At 20th in owner points, Allmendinger is all but assured he will remain in the top 35 heading into Martinsville next week, as he qualified at Bristol for his fifth consecutive race on speed – the only driver to do so in the first five races except for Tony Stewart, who had a past champion’s provisional if he needed it.(SceneDaily)(3-21-2009)
- Super 8 to sponsor RPM: looks like will sponsor the #43 Dodge of Reed Sorenson and the #44 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger for a few races in 2009. See the site Petty's Garage for more info and images, and see an image of the #43 on my #43 Team Schemes page.(2-26-2009)
- Some NASCAR drivers linked with new US F1 team UPDATE: With the new prospective American team USF1 set to be announced officially on Tuesday [Live press conference on SPEED 12noon/et], attention is already turning to the possible occupants of the Charlotte-built race cockpits in 2010. Indycar star Danica Patrick has already played down her reported link with the outfit, but other notable American names have also been mentioned in various quarters of the racing world. #44-AJ Allmendinger's has been another name associated with USF1, but he said he is concentrating on his NASCAR foray even though he views a formula one opportunity as "intriguing". The motor sport writer for the Toronto Star claims #18-Kyle Busch should be "a shoo-in" for a USF1 seat, while the 26-year-old veteran of 28 grands prix #82-Scott Speed has also been linked with Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor's project, as have Conor Daly and Marco Andretti. Windsor is quoted by Britain's The Independent newspaper as clarifying that no decisions about details including engines and drivers have been made. "We have yet to speak to any drivers, but we are looking at every American with the right credentials, and Danica is definitely on the list," he said.(
UPDATE: Kyle Busch's agent said the young NASCAR star would "certainly leave the door open" to try Formula One "at some point" after Busch's name was mentioned during a press conference announcing a new American-based F1 team. Officials with the USF1 team, which will be based out of Charlotte, said it would be interested in having Busch drive its car. Busch is under contract at Joe Gibbs Racing through the end of next season . "Obviously, it's very flattering for him to be mentioned for a Formula One ride, especially an American-based team," said Jeff Dickerson, Busch's agent. "Thanks to Toyota, he was excited at the prospect of getting to test a Formula One car this past offseason. While it didn't work out then, he would certainly leave the door open to try it out at some point. At the same time, he's currently focused on winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series championships for Joe Gibbs Racing." IndyCar Series drivers Danica Patrick and Marco Andretti were also among the drivers mentioned as possibilities by the USF1 team.(SceneDaily)(2-25-2009)
- Harrah's to sponsor #44 at Las Vegas: Harrah’s will serve at the sponsor for the #44 Dodge of A.J. Allmendinger this weekend in Las Vegas. The team is looking for sponsorship to run the full season in 2009.(RPM PR)(2-24-2009)
- Teams looking for sponsors: The most important part of Sunday's Auto Club 500 was not what happened on the track but what took place in the garage, the suites and elsewhere. Some teams had prospective sponsors at Auto Club Speedway as they look to find additional funding. Teams looking for sponsors range from Roush Fenway Racing to Richard Petty Motorsports to Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and others. Richard Petty Motorsports is trying to find sponsorship for #44-AJ Allmendinger beyond the nine races it has for him this season. De Cordell, chief sales and marketing officer, says the team also is looking for a primary sponsor for about six races on #43-Reed Sorenson's car and a major associate sponsor for #9-Kasey Kahne. Cordell said the team had two potential sponsors at Sunday's race, including one that came about after RPM's Daytona 500 performance where it placed three of its four cars in the top 10.
Earnhardt Ganassi Racing continues to search for sponsorship for #8-Aric Almirola and #1-Martin Truex Jr. Steve Lauletta, team president, says Almirola has sponsorship for about 10 races. Lauletta says Truex needs to add a sponsor for about six races. Lauletta said the team received two calls about prospective sponsors this week after the Daytona 500 where Truex won the pole, and had a couple of potential sponsors at the race. The team also is planning to announce a sponsorship agreement next week between its NASCAR teams and car owner Chip Ganassi's IndyCar program. Lauletta estimates the team worked on that deal for 14 months.
Roush Fenway Racing also is looking for future sponsorship and benefited from Matt Kenseth's victory at Daytona. While the organization has primary sponsors for all five cars, each of those sponsors are open to joining other companies on the cars, says Robin Johnson, executive vice president, business development for Roush Fenway Racing.(Roanoke Time)(2-23-2009)
- Allmendinger looking at all options: #44-AJ Allmendinger doesn't have a full-time ride this season in the Sprint Cup Series, but he's not closing any doors on his racing future. He was asked Friday if he might be interested in driving for the Charlotte-based U.S. team in Formula One that will be formally announced next week. "I've learned in this sport over the past couple of years that you don't deny anything," Allmendinger said. "You just nod your head and say, 'There's a chance.' I love being a part of NASCAR, going to all of these races and being around the fans and everything," Allmendinger said. But he admitted a shot at F1 is not without intrigue. It has intrigue, for sure," Allmendinger said. "Driving a race car, no matter what it is, has intrigue for me. ... but it's not my focus, either."(Charlotte Observer)
- Richard Petty about A.J.'s future plans: from a Dodge Motorsports NSCS Teleconference Transcript:
Q: WITH ALLMENDINGER’S THIRD-PLACE FINISH AT DAYTONA, HOW MUCH WILL THAT HELP YOU FIND ADDITIONAL SPONSORS FOR THE 44 CAR?
A: "It’s got to be a plus-plus. I think we’ve got sponsorship for 10 or 12 races right now and we’re already committed for the first six or eight races. We feel like if he (Allmendinger) can continue to show promise and do as well as he did at Daytona, then we feel very confident that we’ll be able to pick up different sponsors over a period of time to continue running him. If he keeps running like he did at Daytona, I’ll just run him out of my pocket because he’ll be bringing the money back in."(Dodge Motorsport PR)
AND Charter Communications will be on both #43-Reed Sorenson's and #44-A.J. Allmendinger's Dodges this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.(RPM PR)(2-18-2009)
- Petty unhappy about #44 not getting automatic spot: Richard Petty was feeling a little bait-and-switched on Friday. The sponsors that Richard Petty Motorsports have been courting for the #44 Dodge felt even more so, he said. NASCAR's recalibration of owner points for the start of the 2009 season put Petty driver A.J. Allmendinger 36th, one spot below the cutoff for automatic entry into the first five races of the season. Clint Bowyer's #33 Chevrolet — a new fourth car at Richard Childress Racing — and Sam Hornish's #77 Dodge garnered top-35 spots by bringing in points-possessing former car owners as partners. Bowyer's car will now be listed under former team owner Bobby Ginn, and Bill Davis has formed a partnership with Roger Penske to own Hornish's car. RPM has only an eight-race deal with Valvoline and is courting sponsors, a less-arduous process if the team is guaranteed of making races. Petty said NASCAR told him at the end of last season that the points of the #10 Gillett Evernham Dodge (now applied to the #44 after Petty merged with GEM) would be in the top 35. "It puts us in a bad situation with a sponsor, because when we went in, that was part of our selling point," Petty said. "All of a sudden, we don't (make the top 35). They blame us as an organization for leading them down a path." Allmendinger failed to qualify on time for the Daytona 500 in his first two attempts at Red Bull Racing.(St Petersburg Times)(2-7-2009)
- Petty Unveils Historic Retro Look for #44 Valvoline Dodge: Richard Petty Motorsports unveiled today a paint scheme with historical significance at Daytona International Speedway. The newly-formed Richard Petty Motorsports’ #44 Valvoline Dodge Charger, driven by AJ Allmendinger during Daytona Speedweeks, will feature a tribute to winning history with a replica paint scheme of the Valvoline Dodge that Kyle Petty drove to an ARCA victory for Petty Enterprises at Daytona 30 years ago (Feb. 11, 1979). “The Valvoline retro paint scheme is awesome," said Allmendinger. "It’s great to be a part of the winning history that both Petty and Valvoline enjoy, and I’ll be working hard to get the #44 Valvoline Dodge into the winner’s circle.” The replica paint scheme will make its racing debut during Saturday night's Budweiser Shootout at Daytona. “Richard Petty is a natural partner for Valvoline”, said Rob Clendening, motorsports manager at Valvoline. “Both names embody sustained excellence, tradition and winning innovation. The Petty return to Valvoline partnership is more like a family reunion. And let’s face it, the car looks great!” Richard Petty, a seven-time Daytona 500 winner, would also like some déjà vu for his team's #44 Valvoline entry.
"Just looking at the Valvoline #44 car brings back pleasant memories," said Petty. "It was Kyle's first race and we won. It's really neat to be reunited with Valvoline and hopefully we can deliver another victory for them here at Daytona." Allmendinger added, “The King has been awesome and supportive and obviously has a lot of experiences we can learn from. You don’t win 200 races without knowing what you are doing. He’s been someone I have always admired and it will be neat to have him in our meetings. When he speaks you listen."(Valvoline/DMF Communications PR)(2-6-2009), see images of the car on my #44 Team Schemes page.
- Evernham announces plans: Ray Evernham has been long known for his leadership atop the pit box of NASCAR stars like Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne, guidance of Dodge's return to NASCAR racing and technological innovation that changed the sport. Evernham announced that he officially is passing the torch on race team entrepreneurship to new team owners like Tony Stewart and Tommy Baldwin. He will now focus his attention on broadcasting, preserving racing venues for future generations, helping develop young drivers and setting new records. "I'm proud of the accomplishments I've achieved with my colleagues and partners over more than two decades in racing, from the early days in IROC to the championship years with Hendrick Motorsports and Jeff Gordon to leading Dodge's return to NASCAR as a team owner," said Evernham. "It has been an amazing journey, and I've been fortunate to work with some incredible people and gain invaluable experience throughout the years." Evernham is relinquishing his leadership role at Richard Petty Motorsports to pursue new Ray Evernham Enterprises Museumopportunities in motorsports, from grassroots racing to NASCAR and beyond. He is focusing his short-term efforts on establishing Ray Evernham Enterprises, broadcasting races for ESPN, managing East Lincoln Speedway, opening a new museum and entertainment facility in Mooresville, NC, (shown at right), helping develop young drivers and designing racecars for several key events. "I'm not retiring from racing or putting NASCAR on a back burner," he noted. "I'm committed to the growth and success of the sport overall, and to building championship teams and organizations in many different levels of racing in the future. I spent my first decade in racing driving and working on racecars. My next decade I went from a rookie crew chief to a NASCAR champion. My third decade I had the opportunity to lead a manufacturer back into the sport and own a team. Who knows what my fourth decade in the sport will hold?" Evernham will continue his duties in the booth for ESPN with co-hosts Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty and Alan Bestwick for a number of NASCAR races throughout the season. He also will be at the ESPN Studios on Mondays as a host of "NASCAR Now".(Victory Management Group)(1-29-2009)
- Richard Petty Motorsports Signs AJ Allmendinger: Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that AJ Allmendinger has agreed to a contract that calls for him to race in the 2009 season with the team retaining an option for 2010. Allmendinger, 27, will drive the team’s #44 Dodge in the Budweiser Shootout plus the first eight races of the 2009 Sprint Cup season as well as the Daytona race in July. The team is looking to put together a sponsorship package that would guarantee the #44’s participation in the remaining 2009 races and the 2010 season. “This is pretty awesome news for me,” said Allmendinger who posted two top-10 finishes in 2008 and a victory in the Sprint Showdown. “I just want to get behind the wheel of a race car and race. We have a lot of work to do on the track and need to sell some sponsorship, but this team has great equipment and I think there is a lot of chemistry here based on how we did at the end of last season.”
I cannot put into words how excited I am to run the #44 in 2009. I raced with these guys five times last year and loved everything about it. The cars were great, the guys were great and we put up some pretty good results. I’m just very grateful to have this opportunity.” Allmendinger, a Los Gatos, Calif. native, is a five-time winner in the Champ Car World Series but is relatively new to the world of the heavier, full-bodied stock cars. “AJ has a ton of potential,” said team owner Richard Petty. “I went testing with him a few weeks ago. When he climbed out of the car I think he went to everyone working on the car asking them questions and wanting to know what was going on. That’s the kind of thing you want out of your driver. He’s a young guy and I think we can help him and he can help us.” Allmendinger joins Richard Petty Motorsports’ teammates #9-Kasey Kahne, #19-Elliott Sadler and #43-Reed Sorenson. Sammy Johns will serve as crew chief on the #44. An agreement in principle to merge Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Holdings to form Richard Petty Motorsports was announced earlier this month.(RPM PR)(1-28-2009)
- Evernham, Kyle Petty take backseat on merged team: Ray Evernham and Kyle Petty are unlikely to have significant roles -- if any -- in the newly formed Richard Petty Motorsports. The team was created earlier this month when Petty Enterprises merged its sponsor-strapped organization with Gillett Evernham Motorsports. The new team name, RPM, was announced Monday. The elder Petty said Monday that Evernham, who sold controlling interest of Evernham Motorsports to the Gillett family in August 2007 and has acted since as a consultant, will continue in that capacity. Kyle Petty, who has been cutting back on his driving, will continue to do part-time work on TV and some sports car racing. "He's been working his way out of the Cup situation," Richard said. "As we go along in our process, from time to time we might want him to run a race or two." The elder Petty, the seven-time Cup champion and one of the sport's most recognizable names, said his role in the new team won't be much different than what it has been. "I'm going to basically be doing the same thing I've been doing for the last eight or 10 years; nothing, as much as I can," Petty said, drawing a laugh from the crowd at the NASCAR media tour. "I'll just (be) doing the Richard Petty thing."(Associated Press/ESPN)(1-21-2009)
- Many sponsors for #43, #44: Richard Petty Racing’s new Executive Director of Racing Operations Ronnie Loomis says he expects both #44-A.J. Allmendinger and #43-Reed Sorenson to sport a number of different sponsors on their cars’ quarterpanels this season. Robbie Loomis told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway, “AJ will start the season with Valvoline on the #44 Dodge for the Daytona 500, and we’ll likely have multiple sponsors on both it and the #43 this season. We’d all love to sign a $30-million sponsor for each car, but the reality is that we’ll probably have a series of smaller backers.”(Sirius Speedway), see images on my #43 Team Schemes and #44 Team Schemes pages.(1-20-2009)
- GEM is now RPM: At the top of Richard Petty's list of deal-breakers when merger talks began between Petty Enterprises and Gillett Evernham Motorsports was to keep the Petty name in the title of the new company. He got his wish. The fourth Sprint Cup organization will be known as Richard Petty Motorsports and keep basically the same blue-and-red logo that symbolized Petty Enterprise for the past 60 years. "We come out to let the world know we're still in the racing business and we're going to be bigger and better than we've ever been," Petty said Monday during an unveiling of the new logo on the first day of NASCAR's Media Tour. Petty also asked that the #44 be kept along with the famous #43 in the transaction. The #44 will replace the #10 as the fourth car that belonged to GEM. AJ Allmendinger will drive in the first five races and is slated to run at least seven in the #44, a number the Pettys reclaimed from Michael Waltrip Racing after this past season. The #44 was driven by Kyle Petty until he switched to the #45 in 2000 in memory of his son, Adam, who was killed driving that number during a Nationwide Series practice session. The #44 was used sparingly by the Pettys from 2000 to 2003, and then was transferred to MWR in 2007 for Dale Jarrett. Petty said Budweiser, which sponsors Kasey Kahne and had logos on the other GEM cars prior to the merger, will not be on the 43 or 44. It has been a Petty tradition going back to Richard's mother not to have alcohol-related sponsors on the cars. "My mother would come back and haunt us home," Petty said of what would happen if Budweiser showed on up the 43 or 44.(ESPN)(1-19-2009)
- GEM 4th team #44? looks like A.J. Allmendinger will drive the #44 Dodge for Gillett Evernham Motorsports and not the #10 Dodge, on the GEM site, it lists four Cup teams, #9, #19, #43, #44 with the driver of the #44 listed as A.J. Allmendinger, no sponsors, crew chief or crew yet listed.(1-19-2009)
- Loomis to run racing operations at GEM-Petty: Robbie Loomis will serve as the executive director of racing operations for the team that will emerge from the merger of Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Holdings, and Kevin Buskirk and Sammy Johns will join existing GEM crew chiefs Kenny Francis and Mike Shiplett atop the pit boxes. All four crew chiefs will report to former Petty executive Loomis, according to GEM Director of Competition Mark McArdle. McArdle believes the planned merger and the realigned staff will help his team. Just having Richard Petty and longtime wrenchman Dale Inman at the team’s test last Friday in Rockingham, N.C., at the old North Carolina Motor Speedway was a plus, McArdle said. Loomis, who reports to McArdle, will oversee the race teams, pit crews, team management and team transport, and he ran the Rockingham test.
The merger and other departures have resulted in several changes at GEM with only Kahne and Kenny Francis remaining as the same driver-crew chief combination as last year. Kahne’s #9 team has had the fewest changes. Francis remains as crew chief. Keith Rodden returns as the team engineer after a one-season absence from the road, replacing engineer Chad Johnson, who moved to Michael Waltrip Racing. Todd Devinich remains the car chief.
On Sadler’s #19 car, Buskirk, most recently of Dale Earnhardt Inc., will be the crew chief in a reunion of sorts since he was the lead engineer for Sadler when he made the Chase at Robert Yates Racing in 2004. Kevin Kidd returns as the team engineer, while Wally Rogers, a former Kevin Harvick Inc. employee who joined GEM as its Nationwide Series crew chief in September 2008, will be the car chief. McArdle says most of that team has changed. He said he didn’t want to lose crew chief Rodney Childers, who opted to move to Michael Waltrip Racing and work with David Reutimann.
On Sorenson’s #43 car, Shiplett enters his second year as a crew chief after spending last season with the #10 team, mostly with drivers Patrick Carpentier and AJ Allmendinger. Phil Surgen will be the race engineer, and Tony Lunders will be the car chief. Surgen worked with Shiplett last year, while Lunders was with the #19 team last season. Many members of the #19 team from last year are now working on the #43 car, McArdle said.
Johns, who had been GEM’s executive director of operations for the shop, will work with the fourth team and likely with driver AJ Allmendinger. Although GEM hasn’t announced Allmendinger’s hiring, Johns and Allmendinger will be working together at a Goodyear test on Tuesday and Wednesday at Phoenix International Raceway. Mike Wolf will be lead engineer and Brian Dantinne moves from research and development to the role of car chief. In other changes, McArdle will take over the supervision of the engine department, while Tommy Wheeler will delve more into research and development. He will focus on the building of the race cars. As far as engines, McArdle said the team would not use the new Dodge engine until later in the season.(SceneDaily)(1-13-2009)
- Sorenson will drive #43: Tom Reddin, CEO of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, spoke to Sirius NASCAR Radio's The Morning Drive Friday morning:
David Poole: "Will Reed Sorenson be in the #43 car and, if you make the deal with A.J. [Allmendinger] for the fourth car would that be the #10? Is that the plan?"
Reddin: "Yeah, pre-merger Reed is in the #10 but post-merger Reed will be in the #43 for next year."
Poole: "What's the sponsorship situation on that car?"
Reddin: "We've got the majority of the races sold but we still have some races to sell. So if anybody's out there listening please give us a call. (laughs) But we've got the majority of the races sold and we're going to be announcing a sponsor in a few weeks on that car. And, again, that was the #10 and it will become the #43. And then our fourth car, we're working on the number right now, which number that will be, and we'll probably have an answer on that within a couple of weeks."(Sirius NASCAR PR)(1-10-2009)
- Petty & Gillett Evernham Motorsports Announce Agreement To Merge: Gillett Evernham Motorsports (GEM) and Petty Holdings announced an agreement in principle to form a new NASCAR Sprint Cup team co-owned by Richard Petty, Petty Holdings, owned by majority shareholder Boston Ventures, and Gillett Evernham Motorsports. The team will field four Dodge entries in the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Details of the transaction are expected once the deal is closed. Petty and GEM officials anticipate a final agreement by the end of January. Some notes:
* The new team plans to run a fourth Dodge in eight races in the 2009 season including the Budweiser Shootout with additional races contingent on sponsorship.
* Ray Evernham retains a minority ownership role with the new team.
* Richard Petty and Petty Holdings will continue to own and operate the Richard Petty Driving Experience as an independent entity.
* Key Petty employees Robbie Loomis, Dale Inman and Brian Moffitt will also have active roles with the new team.
* The new team will use the GEM race shops in Statesville, N.C. and engine shop in Concord, N.C.
* GEM and Petty sponsors will continue with the new organization.(Gillett Evernham PR)(1-8-2009)
- Dodge: smaller budget, less team, high hopes: Although it will have fewer cars on the track and fewer promotional displays in cutting 30 percent of its NASCAR budget, Dodge has not cut back its Sprint Cup research and development for the 2009 season. The automaker hopes that even with fewer cars, it will have better results after a season where it failed to put a car in the Chase For The Sprint Cup. With Chip Ganassi Racing’s merger with Dale Earnhardt Inc. eliminating three Cup teams from where Dodge started in 2008, Dodge has at least one fewer organization to support in 2009. Dodge could end up with only six cars next season if the pending Gillett Evernham Motorsports-Petty Enterprises merger eliminates two more from the manufacturer’s stable, which also included Robby Gordon in 2008. That leaves three cars at Penske Racing [#2,#12,#77] and three or four at the GEM-Petty consolidation [#9,#10?,#19,#43]. “You want to have a portfolio of drivers that can at any given time deliver a top-five or a victory,” said Mike Accavitti, director of the Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep brands. “We feel with the lineup that we have remaining that we can do that. … The seven cars that we have – or eight cars or six cars or whatever it ends up to be – will be sufficient. We can give Dodge customers a good show. We can give NASCAR fans a good show and we can represent the brand well.” Accavitti said that his budget was set and would not get increased by the authorization of the bridge loan for Chrysler. He said it will remain at 30% below 2008, just as it was planned prior to President George W. Bush’s approval of the loan last month. “The entire operation was contingent upon the bridge loans being passed,” he said. “It was a critical element for the viability of our company and we’re very appreciative to have that behind us and be able to move forward."(SceneDaily)(1-8-2009)
- NO news on the GEM-Petty merger UPDATE: The expected Petty Enterprises-Gillett Evernham Motorsports merger likely won’t be announced Monday, and the Petty Enterprises shop was fairly quiet. There were only about 15 cars parked in the Petty parking lot Monday morning. Sources have indicated that the team has laid off most of its employees. It is expected that the two teams will merge, with Petty’s famed #43 car joining the GEM stable. With the #43 car guaranteed a spot in the first five races of the 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup season and GEM’s #10 not guaranteed a position [but could move up with 2-3 others teams dropping out due to the Ganassi-DEI merger and BDR sell], the #43 could be driven by Reed Sorenson, who has already signed to drive for GEM. GEM also could face a lawsuit over its driver stable. Elliott Sadler, who reportedly has been dropped in favor of AJ Allmendinger, has filed a notice with North Carolina Superior Court in Statesville, N.C., that claims that GEM breached its contract with Sadler. GEM spokesman Drew Brown said Monday the company has no comment on the legal filing and that no announcements were planned for today [Monday].(SceneDaily)(1-6-2009)
UPDATE: Petty Enterprises cars were in the wind tunnel just a week before the organization’s officials told employees they would be laid off and that the team shop was shutting down, according to crew chief Stewart Cooper. Cooper, who was crew chief for the organization’s #45 Sprint Cup car for much of last season, said he wasn’t bitter with the way things ended at Petty. He said virtually all of the remaining 38 employees were laid off, with only Petty Enterprises Executive Vice President Robbie Loomis and a couple of others remaining. The organization is expected to merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports, with an announcement expected as early as this week. “As of [early] last week we were working as if we were going to Daytona. … I really feel like it’s nobody’s fault,” Cooper said Tuesday night. “It’s just the way the dice fell this time. [Those of us laid off] will have to work through it and move on.” Cooper said he didn’t expect himself nor many of the former Petty employees to get hired by the new team, which is expected to work out of the Gillett Evernham shop in Statesville, N.C. “I left [my status] up to Robbie Loomis,” Cooper said. “I didn’t have any major conversations with Robbie about it. I really don’t think they’re going to take too many people up there. They had a full staff anyway [at GEM]."(SceneDaily)(1-7-2009)
- Evernham still wants a role in NASCAR: Ray Evernham called "The Morning Drive" on Sirius NASCAR Radio this past week after his name came up Monday [12-29] while we [Mike Bagley & David Poole] were talking about the reports that Elliott Sadler will be replaced by AJ Allmendinger in the #19 Dodges next season at Gillett Evernham Motorsports. Evernham no longer has a major day-to-day role in the team he ran after leaving Hendrick Motorsports as Jeff Gordon's crew chief to help Dodge come back to big-time NASCAR competition. He sold most of his interest into the team to George Gillett and his family and has scaled back more and more over the past couple of years. Evernham wanted to make sure it was clear that he's not down on NASCAR or racing. Evernham wants to be involved in racing. But as a team owner, he discovered that was a job he wasn't going to be able to do at a level he could feel good about. Evernham doesn't have a "good enough" switch. You're talking about a guy whose work as [Jeff] Gordon's crew chief help redefined the way Cup teams compete. Evernham and his "Rainbow Warriors" changed the game, helping bring specialization and a level of attention to detail the sport had never seen before. By the time they were done, Evernham and Gordon had three championships together and Evernham had established himself as one of the sport's greatest all-time crew chiefs. Evernham said Tuesday that "it will probably always haunt me" that he didn't win a championship as a team owner, but he's proud of what he helped build at GEM. He's not sure he agrees with everything that's being done there now, but he also said that it's no longer his call. As for the situation with Sadler and Allmendinger, there wasn't much he could say. That's pretty much what has been going on with that story since it first surfaced over the weekend. Sadler signed a contract extension in May and my [Poole] hunch is that as lots of people wearing suits and carrying briefcases are discussing all of that everybody involved has been told to remain quiet until everybody's as happy as they're going to be.
If I wanted to hype something Evernham said, I could use this quote: "When I left as a crew chief I said the only way I would come back in that job is to be Jeff Gordon's crew chief again." But that's not Evernham angling for Steve Letarte's job. It just means that Evernham isn't going to be a crew chief again just for the sake of having that title. For right now, Evernham is working on getting East Lincoln Speedway -- the short track he recently bought -- ready for a new season. He even got denim overalls, which is apparently the official working uniform of that track, for the job. See full story at Charlotte Observer.(1-1-2009)