2010 Racing partners along with primary sponsor Menard's
Feb 14 Daytona - Peak
Feb 21 California - Energizer
Feb 28 Las Vegas - Moen
Mar 7 Atlanta - CertainTeed
Mar 21 Bristol - Pittsburgh Paints
Mar 28 Martinsville - Nibco
Apr 10 Phoenix - Moen (2)
Apr 18 Texas - Quaker State
Apr 25 Talladega - Turtle Wax
May 1 Richmond - Schrock Cabinetry
May 8 Darlington - Turtle Wax (2)
May 16 Dover - Zecol
May 22 Charlotte Sprint Showdown - Serta
May 30 Charlotte - Serta (2)
Jun 6 Pocono - Pittsburgh Paints (2)
Jun 13 Michigan - Sylvania
Jun 20 Infineon - Certainteed (2)
Jun 27 New Hampshire - Energizer (2)
Jul 3 Daytona - Quaker State (2)
July 10 Chicago - Moen (3)
July 25 Indy - Mastercraft
Aug 1 Pocono - Certainteed (3)
Aug 8 Watkins Glen - Pittsburgh Paints (3)
Aug 15 Michigan - Mastercraft (2)
Aug 21 Bristol - Certainteed (4)
Sept 5 Atlanta - Quaker State (3)
Sept 11 Richmond - Pittsburgh Paints (4)
Sept 19 New Hampshire - Sylvania (2)
Sept 26 Dover - Sylvania (3)
Oct 3 Kansas - Zecol (2)
Oct 10 Auto Club - Vertis
Oct 16 Charlotte - Schrock Cabinetry (2)
Oct 24 Martinsville - Energizer (3)
Oct 31 Talladega - Serta (3)
Nov 7 Texas - Quaker State (4)
Nov 14 Phoenix - Peak (2)
Nov 21 Homestead - Mastercraft (3)
Contract Status: Sponsors: 2010; Driver: 2010 then moves to RCR in 2011<0UL>
#21 gets #19; #71 gets #98 owners points: NASCAR has approved a reassignment of owners points, according to sources familiar with the situation. Richard Petty Motorsports and Wood Brothers Racing have partnered to create Wood Brothers II LLC. As a result, Trevor Bayne will be locked into the Daytona 500 behind the wheel of the #21 Motorcraft Ford. Richard Petty Motorsports ended last season with four teams inside the coveted top 35 in owner points, which guarantees them a starting spot in the first five races of the season. However, as the organization shrank from four teams to two, it allowed the opportunity to create the partnership with Wood Brothers. Bayne is expected to run 17 Sprint Cup Series races for the Wood Brothers to gain seat time. A decision on Bayne’s rookie status in the series has yet to be determined. The Wood Brothers could not be reached for comment.
A similar deal was worked out between RPM and Kevin Buckler, who will receive the #98's owner points for the #71 TRG Chevy. Calls to Buckler and TRG CMO Torrey Galida were not returned. Sources say Buckler will start the season with Andy Lally behind the wheel. TRG remains a customer of Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines (FoxSports)(2-5-2011)
Layoffs precede Richard Petty deal: Richard Petty Motorsports cut 75 jobs a week before the company was acquired by the racing legend and other investors. The Concord-based team had struggled financially and announced Nov. 22 its plans to field two cars in the NASCAR circuit in 2011, down from four. That same day, the firm notified N.C. regulators of the termination of 75 employees. On Tuesday, Richard Petty Motorsports announced its sale to an investment group comprised of Richard Petty, Medallion Financial Corp. of New York and DGB Investments of San Jose, Calif. The sales price was undisclosed. Andrew Murstein, Medallion Financial president, says the layoffs leave the race operation with about 80 employees. The cuts reflect Petty Motorsports’ financial struggles and had been planned for some time. “I hope to get back to four teams and hire them back,” Murstein adds. Murstein hopes to gear up to three teams in 2012 and reach a fourth “shortly thereafter.”(Charlotte Business Journal)(12-2-2010)
RPM purchased by Richard Petty and others MORE: Richard Petty Motorsports signed and closed a sale of its racing assets to an investment group comprised of Richard Petty, Medallion Financial Corp. and DGB Investments. Richard Petty will serve as Chairman and will be actively involved in overseeing day-to-day operations of the company. As previously announced, the team will operate the legendary #43 car driven by AJ Allmendinger and the #9 car driven by Marcos Ambrose. “Today is a great day for me, my family, our fans and our wonderful sponsors. Ford, Stanley, Best Buy, Valvoline, Reynolds, Air Force, Super 8, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), WIX Filters and Menards have supported me through thick and thin and I thank them from the bottom of my heart,” said Petty.
Andrew Murstein, President of Medallion Financial, commented: “We could not be happier to be able to acquire these assets together. Richard is one of the greatest names, not only in NASCAR, but in all sports. His name and image are a world recognized brand with unlimited potential to grow and expand in racing. Ample working capital has been invested in the company to insure this great team and legend will not only continue to perform, but will thrive and be back in the winner’s circle.”
“George and Foster Gillett deserve a great deal of credit for running a successful race team,” commented Petty. “They made a significant investment into the business and helped get back into Victory Lane. Going forward, we have put together an all-star ownership team consisting of myself, Medallion, and VeriFone CEO Doug Bergeron.”
Medallion Financial, a publicly traded investment company, has invested over $3 billion in companies since its IPO in 1996 and its board members include such notables as former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, former Connecticut Governor and Senator Lowell Weicker, and another “King” of his sport, Hank Aaron. The Murstein family is the largest shareholder in Medallion, owning approximately 20 percent.
DGB Investments is an investment vehicle of Canadian-born investor Douglas G. Bergeron, CEO of VeriFone Systems, Inc. (NYSE: PAY), San Jose, Calif. In 2001, Bergeron and DGB participated in the acquisition of VeriFone Systems from Hewlett-Packard in a transaction valued at $50 million. Today, VeriFone’s market value exceeds $3 billion dollars and Bergeron remains CEO and one of the largest individual shareholders.
Douglas Bergeron commented, “With Richard Petty’s unmatched name and reputation in the motorsports industry, I know this investment is well-timed to succeed. We are going to help put Richard Petty Motorsports back in Victory Lane.” Richard Petty concluded, “Our partnership with Andy Murstein and Doug Bergeron will help take us to a whole new level and I could not be more excited about our future.”(RPM PR)(11-29-2010)
MORE: RPM will operate as a two-car organization with AJ Allmendinger in the famed #43 that Petty drove to 198 [of 200] wins and seven championships and Marcos Ambrose in the #9. Sources said rights to the owner's points for the #98 driven by Paul Menard are moving to Menard at Richard Childress Racing [#27 Chevy] and the points from the #19 driven by Elliott Sadler are expected to go to the #21 owned by the Wood Brothers. Andrew Murstein, the president of Medallion Financial, said he agreed to get involved only if Petty made a substantial commitment along with his company and DGB. While he couldn't divulge details due to a confidentiality agreement, Murstein said all three parties invested millions of dollars. Murstein said the more than $100 million of debt on RPM operations has been paid off. "A fresh start for Petty coming in with no debt,'' he said. The sale of RPM's racing assets to Medallion Financial and DGB Investments not only takes Gillett out of ownership but also Ray Evernham, who remained a minority owner after selling what was Evernham Motorsports to Gillett in 2007.(ESPN)
Ford Statement: Statement from Jamie Allison, Director, Ford North America Motorsports, on Richard Petty Motorsports: “We’re elated that Richard Petty has been able to complete this very complex task of restructuring Richard Petty Motorsports. Everyone knows that The King is a motorsports icon and to have him part of the Ford Racing family is something we cherish. We’re also excited about moving forward with Andy Murstein and Doug Bergeron, two men whose knowledge and understanding of what it takes to be successful will serve RPM well in the future. I am extending a personal welcome to Andy and Doug from all of us at Ford. Now, we can concentrate on the task at hand, which is getting AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose the resources they need to win races and make the Chase in 2011.”(Ford Racing)(11-29-2010)
Petty says RPM will compete in 2011: Stopping short of saying he has financial investors to keep his Sprint Cup organization afloat, Richard Petty said Saturday that Richard Petty Motorsports will compete in 2011. This came a week after the minority owner of RPM said he was in limbo for next year. Employees at RPM will get an indication Monday morning of how the company will move forward. According to a memo, a mandatory 8:00am/et meeting has been called, with instructions for no one to come to work before then. "We're going to make it," Petty said. "That's all I can say now." A source in the Cup garage said RPM, in order to restructure its financial situation, may have to shut its doors for at least a day, release most employees, then re-open. Petty would not confirm that, saying only "nothing's off the table." Regardless, major layoffs will occur as RPM will shrink from four cars to two after this season, with AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose the only drivers under contract. Petty would not confirm he has found investors to make it, but several sources in the Cup garage said the pieces appear in place. Ford Racing officials met with Petty for a briefing Saturday. Afterward, Ford spokesman Kevin Kennedy said: "It was a good meeting. We're confident it will get worked out.'' Edsel Ford II, a member of Ford's board of directors, said keeping RPM in the fold is paramount. "We've done everything we can,'' he said. "Quite frankly, a lot of their suppliers have done the same."(ESPN)(11-21-2010)
Evernham no longer legally bound to RPM: Famed crew chief and ESPN analyst Ray Evernham is free to return to the competition side of the Sprint Cup Series. Evernham said Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway that he no longer is legally bound to the exclusivity deal at financially strapped Richard Petty Motorsports that kept him from entertaining offers from other organizations. He said he will entertain offers of being a consultant, making it clear he does not want to return full-time. "Ray Evernham, for the first time coming into the final race of a NASCAR season, does not have a complete direction for next year,'' Evernham said. "Obviously, I have been buried under a mire of legal paperwork, caught up in something I don't really want to be involved in. But it is what it is. I'm probably as apprehensive or a little bit nervous about my future as Ray Evernham has been. I am free and clear according to my people now. Basically, every contract I've had has been breached in every shape or form.'' Evernham sold majority interest in Evernham Motorsports in 2007 to George Gillett. That organization later merged with Petty Enterprises to become Richard Petty Motorsports, but it kept Evernham in the loop as a consultant and would not allow him to work with other teams. Evernham said he has not brought legal action against Gillett for outstanding money owed him in the original transaction, but he has hired attorneys that have plans in place to do so, if necessary. "Honestly, the thing before you file a lawsuit, you have to make sure there is something to get,'' he said. Evernham isn't sure whether he'll remain with ESPN in 2011 or be with a race organization, or both. There has been speculation that he could return to Hendrick Motorsports, where he helped Jeff Gordon win three of his four titles and help turn around the struggling Dale Earnhardt Jr. "I love my ESPN job and the people I work with,'' Evernham said. "So we're talking about that. We haven't talked about specifics. I haven't made any decisions because I haven't had enough time to talk about it.''(ESPN.com)(11-20-2010)
Gillett at Homestead, refuses to talk: Foster Gillett appeared at a NASCAR track for the first time since financial problems began consuming his team. As he climbed from the top of the #19 Richard Petty Motorsports hauler, Gillett, the managing partner of the company his father, George Gillett, purchased in August 2007, refused to answer questions that have been on the minds of many — from suppliers to whom RPM owes money to drivers who want to know what their situations are for next year.
When asked where have you been, Gillett refused to answer. When asked if his family still had majority interest of Richard Petty Motorsports, Gillett refused to answer.
The latest scenario in the garage has RPM closing the doors on Monday and reopening under a newly founded company with two teams — the #43 and #9 — and the ability to rehire select employees from the existing rosters and some fresh faces. A.J. Allmendinger is signed to drive the #43, and Marcos Ambrose will take over the #9. Stanley, which is currently the sponsor on the #19 of Elliott Sadler, has signed on to return next year. Best Buy, the primary sponsor of the #43, has not yet.
RPM has three teams in the top 25 in the points standings, but sources say that #98-Paul Menard, who is joining Richard Childress Racing in 2011 [running the #27 at RCR], has commandeered his points for next year. That means his Childress team will be exempt from having to qualify for the first six events next year.(in part from FoxSports)(11-19-2010)
RPM on road to Homestead: After a brief delay Wednesday at Roush Fenway Racing, which supplies Richard Petty Motorsports with its NASCAR Sprint Cup cars, the team is on the road to Homestead-Miami Speedway. The organization has faced financial struggles in recent weeks and was delayed transporting its cars from the race at Texas to last week's race at Phoenix International Raceway because of those (FoxSports)(11-18-2010)
RPM at Phoenix, plan on being at Homestead: While the four Richard Petty Motorsports teams were prepping cars for the first NASCAR Sprint Cup practice at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday morning, the regular chain of command was nowhere to be found. Robbie Loomis, executive director of racing operations, was scheduled in before qualifying. Sammy Johns, director of operations was preparing to run a half-Ironman in the Beach to Battleship Triathalon in Wilmington, N.C. In the lounge of the #43 transporter was Dr. Eric Warren, former technical director of Evernham Motorsports who revised his role at RPM specializing in simulation projects, who jokingly deferred responsibility to Mike Shiplett, crew chief of the #43 team. “We’re here to sit on the pole and win the race,” Shiplett said, sounding like Loomis. Shiplett is encouraged about this weekend’s activities after his driver, AJ Allmendinger, won the pole at Phoenix in April and finished 15th. And since Allmendinger participated in the Goodyear tire test at Homestead in September, Shiplett feels the team will be strong in the season finale next weekend. “I think he’ll be good there,” Shiplett said. “He really liked the new tires — thought they had more grip and were able to fall off. When you have speed and fall off that makes for great racing. That puts the racing back in the driver’s hands.” As far as whether RPM will have cars for next week, Shilplett says everything is right on schedule. “We have our Homestead cars ready and are expecting delivery on the engines today,“ Shiplett said. “We’ll put the engines in on Monday, chassis dyno the cars on Tuesday, Wednesday we’ll do the final scales and the cars will be ready to go to Homestead (FoxSports)(11-13-2010)
Richard Petty Motorsports on hold: The situation at Richard Petty Motorsports remains tenuous at best, despite reports to the contrary. Last week team officials said everything was set for this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway as well as the season finale the following week. But five truck drivers remained in Fort Worth at Texas Motor Speedway waiting for the call as to whether they were heading west to the next race or back to the shop in the east as of Tuesday evening. The organization has been in limbo as team owner George Gillett is still reeling from the financial hit he took Oct. 15 when the English soccer team he co-owned -- Liverpool Football Club -- was taken over.
RPM had planned to run two cars next season with AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose. However, until money can be secured to settle the current debts at RPM, it’s uncertain how much longer the organization will be around. Sources told FOXSports.com that Richard Petty, the team's namesake, was in talks with Andrew Murstein, President of Medallion Financial Group, in a bid to gain financial control of the company from Gillett.
As a backup plan for Paul Menard, who has already announced that he will leave RPM to drive for Richard Childress Racing in 2011, the #10 Stavola Labonte Racing Chevy stayed within two hours of Texas Motor Speedway in case it needs to turn around and head to Phoenix for Menard’s use. Stavola Labonte Racing has a technical alliance with RCR.(FoxSports)(11-10-2010)
RPM will finish out season with four cars: Richard Petty Motorsports has the financial backing to finish the season and is working toward running a two-car Sprint Cup car operation in 2011, vice president of competition of Robbie Loomis said on Saturday. "It's been amazing to me, the support from owners and drivers who have come up and been able to help keep us going ... past crew chiefs," Loomis said after the final Cup practice at Texas Motor Speedway leading up to Sunday's race. "People have really been supportive of helping us continue along and get to a better place." Among those helping RPM is former team owner and crew chief Ray Evernham, who still has a minority ownership stake in the team after selling what was then Evernham Motorsports to George Gillett in 2007. Gillett later merged with Petty Enterprises to form Richard Petty Motorsports. Gillett's recent financial difficulties surrounding the sale of the Liverpool soccer club left the racing team so strapped for money that two weeks ago there were questions of whether RPM could pay the bills necessary to finishing the season. Since then minority owner Richard Petty has been looking for investors to retake majority ownership from Gillett and keep the team afloat through the final race of this season. Loomis said the latter no longer is an issue. "Every car owner, every manufacturer has been behind us," he said. "Ford has been incredible in their ability to keep us healthy. Jack Roush and what his crowd has done has been amazing. For Richard it has been very rewarding to see everybody supporting us the way they have." Roush Fenway Racing supplies cars for RPM and Roush Yates Engines supplies engines. Roush said two weeks ago at Martinsville that RPM was up to date on its bills, but added there was at least one payment to be made before the season ended. Loomis said RPM is undecided with which crew members from the #19 team of Sadler and #98 team of Paul Menard will be retained. "We've definitely got some plans," he said. "The roster is already put together. ... Everyone knows we're a four-car team and working on laying out our plans to get to two cars. We've had a lot of talk about running a third car for the first five races with other interests. We've got the points for it."(ESPN)(11-7-2010)
Evernham to help Petty with RPM: Richard Petty Motorsports minority owner Ray Evernham confirmed today that Petty is assembling the financing necessary to bid for control of the troubled team, and said he will do whatever he can to ensure the success of that venture. Evernham told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody, “I’m going to do everything I can to help (Richard). The situation surrounding that team lately has been a... legal and financial nightmare. I don’t have an interest in owning a piece of the team anymore, but if it comes down to helping Richard bridge a financial gap for the time being, I would absolutely do what it took to help him achieve his goal.”
Evernham expressed confidence that Petty will be able to field a full roster of four cars in the remaining races of the 2010 season. “(Richard) has a lot of people behind him,” said Evernham. “He is doing the right thing for racing and doing his best to keep a lot of people employed.” Despite still owning a minority stake in the team, Evernham said, “I don’t get communication from George Gillett. I haven’t spoken to him in months. All I know is that there are good things happening from the Richard Petty side of things. The #43 and Richard Petty need to be in NASCAR, both now and in the future. There are lots of people -- including me and in addition to me – who want to see him succeed.”
One of the team's drivers, Stanley Tools Ford driver Elliott Sadler, said news of Petty’s involvement has helped calm fears among team employees about the future of the company. “I think people were more scared at Martinsville than they are now," said Sadler. "Richard Petty has gotten a lot more involved in the last couple of weeks and that has put people at ease. I’m confident that we’re going to be here for the remainder of the season. Richard Petty deserves to be part of this sport. He’s a good guy, and he’s lots of fun to race for. It wouldn’t seem right to be at the racetrack without seeing that cowboy hat and sunglasses.”(Sirius Speedway)(11-3-2010)
Bud to remain on the #9: Budweiser will remain on the #9 Ford at Richard Petty Motorsports for the final three Sprint Cup events of the season, a team spokesman said on Tuesday. There was speculation the sponsor would not be on the car past last weekend's race at Talladega Superspeedway after a report surfaced that Anheuser-Busch would not make its final payment to RPM with Kasey Kahne no longer in the car. RPM officials said Tuesday that Anheuser-Busch has paid through the end of the season, assuring the Bud logo will remain on the #9 car. "The Budweiser car is a fixture in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and we look forward to finishing out the season," an Anheuser-Busch spokesperson said. Aric Almirola will drive the #9 for the third straight race this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. He replaced Kahne, who was released to move to Red Bull Racing, where he will compete full-time next season. All four RPM cars are entered in Sunday's race at Texas. According to a member of the team's public relations department, it has been business as usual at RPM's shop in Concord, N.C. Meanwhile, minority owner Richard Petty continues to seek investors that would help him purchase controlling interest of RPM from financially-strapped owner George Gillett Jr. Gillett has not returned repeated phone calls from ESPN.com seeking comment (ESPN)(11-3-2010)
Petty still looking for control of RPM: Richard Petty continues to seek investors in a bid to purchase a controlling stake in the team that bears his name. In addition to Petty, at least one other group has expressed interest in making a bid for the financially troubled Richard Petty Motorsports team, but sources say Wachovia Bank -- lead lender for majority owner George Gillett and holder of a defaulted $90 note on the team -- is waiting for Petty to assemble his investor group. Petty's initial offer was said to be long on demands for operational control of the team, but short on cash.(Sirius Speedway)(11-2-2010)
Budweiser not making final payment to RPM? Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that Budweiser has told Richard Petty Motorsports that the team will not receive the final installment of its 2010 sponsorship contract. Bud's contract called for Kasey Kahne to be the driver of the Budweiser Ford, and when Kahne left the team five races early to join Red Bull Racing, that contract became null and void. There has been no confirmation from either the team or Budweiser, and no word on what the final installment of that sponsorship would have been worth to the team.(Sirius Speedway)(10-29-2010)
UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports' director of competition Robbie Loomis expects the organization to stay status quo until the end of the season. Despite rumors of doom and gloom surrounding the organization - and the latest allegation that Budweiser will not fulfill its contractual obligations with the final payment on its sponsorship of the #9 entry - Loomis insists that RPM will field four cars throughout the remainder of the NASCAR season. When asked about the status of the #9 Ford, a spokesperson for Budweiser said, "Our policy is to not comment on contractual agreements." However, rumors of their early departure has been floating around for a week - ever since Kasey Kahne extricated himself from the car after Charlotte. RPM had planned to run two cars next season with AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose. However, until money can be secured to settle the current debts at RPM, it's uncertain what the lineup will look like. Multiple sources insist that Richard Petty will divest himself from majority owner George Gillett as early as next week. However, Loomis said he is in constant contact with the Gilletts and they will remain the owners of the company. This weekend on the competition side, Loomis and Sammy Johns, director of operations, are calling the shots.(Fox Sports)
AND: Another source close to RPM said lenders had taken back the team from majority owner George Gillett and had approved a plan for Richard Petty to manage the team’s day-to-day operations, but official team sources would neither confirm nor deny that, nor say who was currently running the team or if Gillett was gone.(SPEED)(10-30-2010)
RPM looking for Investors: UPDATE 2: George Gillett's financial difficulty following the sale of Liverpool FC has thrown the future of Richard Petty Motorsports into doubt and left the NASCAR team's owners and lenders searching for investors to keep the team afloat. The Gilletts and Pettys, which are two of the NASCAR team's principal owners, began an aggressive search for investors this month. RPM has hired the Gordian Group, a New York-based investment bank, to assist them in their search, while the syndicate of banks that lent Gillett more than $90 million to buy the team have been working with FTI Consulting, a global consultancy specializing in corporate finance, to find investors, sources said. A spokeswoman for RPM declined to comment.
The search for funding for RPM follows a challenging financial year for Gillett. The team reportedly defaulted on its roughly $90 million loan last February, and Gillett, who owns as much as 70% of the team, has been unable to restructure it. Gillett was counting on the sale of his stake in Liverpool FC to assist him in funding the NASCAR team. But Liverpool sold two weeks ago for $475 million, a sum far less than Gillett and co-owner Tom Hicks expected and one that has put a heavy strain on Gillett's liquidity.
The team was renamed Richard Petty Motorsports in 2009 after Gillett formed a partnership with Petty that gave the NASCAR great a roughly 4% stake in the team. The partnership followed the closure of Petty Enterprises. RPM plans to run two cars next season after running four this year. Only one of the 2011 cars, the #9 Stanley Tools Ford to be driven by Marcos Ambrose, is sponsored. The team remains in negotiations with Best Buy about extending its sponsorship of the #43 car driven by AJ Allmendinger.(full article at the Sporting News/SportsBusiness Journal)(10-26-2010)
UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports majority owner George Gillett, Jr., made a major move to shore-up the financial standing of the team Tuesday. His Booth Creek Resort Properties LLC sold its stock in the companies that operate the Northstar-at-Tahoe Ski Resort to Vail Resorts Tuesday for $63 million. Gillett reportedly owes approximately $70 million to Wachovia Bank from his purchase of the team formerly known as Evernham Motorsports. It is also believed that he continues to make payments to Evernham for the team, and Evernham told Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that Gillett is current in his payments. The former car owner and championship-winning crewchief declined to discuss the inner workings of the team, beyond confirming that he receives regular updates on RPM's finances. Informed sources say that without the infusion of capital, RPM would not have been able to compete at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, despite the return of the team's Talladega chassis and engines by Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Racing Engines late last week. There is no word on whether today's $63 million cash infusion will allow RPM to compete for the remainder of the 2010 season, or on how it might impact Richard Petty's attempt to secure financing for a purchase of Gillett's ownership stake.(Sirius Speedway)(10-27-2010)
UPDATE 2: Sirius NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that the sale of a Lake Tahoe Ski Resort by Richard Petty Motorsports majority owner George Gillett this week apparently brought far less to the team’s financial coffers than initially believed. Gillett’s Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc., sold its stock in the companies that operate the Northstar-at-Tahoe Ski Resort to Vail Resorts Tuesday for a reported $63 million. However, a search of public records shows that Northstar-at-Tahoe actually sold for $80 million in November of 2007 to CNL Lifestyle Properties, a real estate investment trust. CNL’s company prospectus outlines terms of the sale, and makes it clear that since late 2007, Gillett’s company has only managed the resort on their behalf, and not owned it. Industry sources say those management rights likely sold for far less than the claimed $64 million. Further, they say that Gillett personally owns only 2% of Booth Creek Ski Holdings, with his wife accounting for an additional 2%. Thus, Gillett would have received very little cash from Tuesday’s sale. Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed late yesterday that it will field all four cars this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway for drivers AJ Allmendinger, Elliott Sadler, Paul Menard and Aric Almirola. Today's news raises new concerns, however, over the team's long-term viability.(Sirius Speedway)(10-28-2010)
RPM will have all four cars at Talladega: Richard Petty Motorsports will field all four of its cars at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, a team spokesman confirmed Wednesday afternoon. The team's presence at the Amp Energy Juice 500 this weekend was in question as employees were told last week that their jobs weren't guaranteed through the end of the year and that last week's race at Martinsville might be their last. Team co-owner Richard Petty, whom the SportsBusiness Journal said owns just 4 percent of the team, is working to take over control of the organization from George Gillett, according to sources familiar with the situation. Gillett, who had taken a $90 million loan to purchase the team from Ray Evernham in 2007 and then merged the organization with Petty Enterprises and Yates Racing in the last two years, has a majority ownership in the organization. Ray Evernham and Boston Ventures also have a minority interest.(Sporting News)(10-27-2010)
RPM to Toyota? Could there be a Toyota in the King’s court? Multiple sources have confirmed to FOXSports.com that Richard Petty met with principals from Toyota and Michael Waltrip Racing at Martinsville on Sunday and the meetings continued through Monday in Charlotte. In the past week, Petty has scrambled to salvage what is left of his brand and the #43. This latest development, however, doesn’t appear to involve Petty’s current partner George Gillett, the majority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports. Currently, RPM fields four Fords in the Sprint Cup Series. [George] Gillett is named as the owner of record on the #s 9, 19 and 98. Petty’s name is on the #43. The only sponsor signed for RPM in 2011 is Stanley Tools, a deal rumored to be worth $10 million and expected to be aligned with driver Marcos Ambrose. Gillett and Petty turned to Toyota once before in the summer of 2009, but the automaker could not match the eight-figure financial support that RPM had previously received as a factory-backed Dodge organization. RPM began the transition to Ford with select races at the end of the 2009 season.(Fox Sports)(10-27-2010)
The King says he is staying in the sport; could buy the team? Richard Petty doesn't plan to let financial woes run him out of the Sprint Cup series. "I've been here since 1949 and I'm going to be here till they run me off," the minority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports said on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. Petty would not comment on whether he is attempting to put together investors to purchase majority interest from George Gillett, whose legal dispute over the sale of the Liverpool soccer team has impacted the finances of the racing organization to the point there was concern it wouldn't be able to compete past this weekend. But Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush, whose organization leases cars and engines to RPM, told ESPN.com that Petty was attempting to purchase controlling interest of the team. "I haven't got anything to tell you except speculation on somebody else's part and my part and that ain't going to get anybody anywhere," Petty said from the back of the #9 hauler. "When we do get all of it together we'll get it together.''(ESPN)(10-24-2010)
Loomis discusses RPM's plans: Richard Petty Motorsports is looking forward to finishing this season strong and already is making plans for 2011. Robbie Loomis, the director of competition for RPM, answered questions at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday amid speculation that the organization is facing an uncertain future. The team and driver Kasey Kahne parted ways earlier this week, and Loomis said he thinks the sudden departure of the driver has fueled talk about the team's stability.
"Like I said before, there's been a lot of speculation about a lot of things," Loomis said before practice while behind the team's #43 hauler. "There always has been in this sport, but what gives me confidence is that we've always had the ability to move forward." Loomis says the team will be at Talladega next weekend, but he did not say who will be driving the car. Aric Almirola is taking Kahne's place in the #9 Ford this weekend. "Most of the things we've been working on has been our models for 2011 and what our race teams look like moving forward," he said. The team is planning to field two cars in 2011, with A.J. Allmendinger staying in the #43 and Marcos Ambrose driving the other car [supposedly the #9].
RPM is co-owned by George Gillett Jr. and seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty. Questions about the team's financial health have followed it for almost two years and Gillett was recently ousted as a co-owner of Premier League soccer club Liverpool. Loomis said Gillett still owns RPM, and declined to comment on speculation that Petty is trying to round up investors that would allow him more control of the organization. "There are a lot of people working collectively together to make this thing more successful as we go forward in the future," he said. Loomis said Petty might make it to the track Sunday, but that he's been spending most of his time with his ailing wife, Lynda.(Associated Press)(10-23-2010)
Labbe moving to RCR with Menard: Despite reports that Richard Petty Motorsports could shut down after Sunday’s race at Martinsville Speedway, one of the team’s crew chiefs says his car is good to go. Richard “Slugger” Labbe, crew chief of the #98 Menards Ford driven by Paul Menard, said his team’s cars have not been directly impacted by RPMs woes. Roush Fenway Racing, which builds RPMs cars, briefly repossessed three of RPMs four cars for next week’s race at Talladega Superspeedway. But Labbe said the #98 wasn’t one of them. “Our cars weren’t affected by that,” Labbe said Friday morning at Martinsville. “We’ve got our Talladega car, the engine’s going in it this morning. We’ve got our Texas cars. We’ve got all our cars for the rest of the races.” Labbe, who next year will move with Menard to Richard Childress Racing, said he didn’t think RPM will fold before the end of the year. There have been reports that team members were told the team wouldn’t race beyond Martinsville or perhaps Talladega and that some crew members had paychecks bounce. But Labbe said his paycheck cleared yesterday and he’s been assured by team officials that the funds are in place to make payroll.(SPEED)(10-22-2010)
RPM owes millions UPDATE none to Kahne: More details are being revealed concerning the current financial situation at Richard Petty Motorsports, including approximately $12 million owed to the team's chassis and engine suppliers and former driver Kasey Kahne. Speaking on the condition on anonymity, a source with knowledge of the situation told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that RPM had fallen $9-10 million behind in its payments to Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Racing Engines for race cars, engines and rear gear assemblies. That debt prompted Roush to repossess the team’s Talladega cars, engines and gears earlier this week, but the cars were returned to RPM late Thursday morning after a partial payment was made. The engines reportedly remain in the possession of Roush Yates Racing Engines, awaiting an additional payment.
The same source revealed that Kahne is owed between $1 million and $1.25 million by RPM, and that those past-due paychecks played a major role in his criticism of the team following last Saturday night’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. As of mid-afternoon Thursday, Kahne had not received a signed copy of his release from RPM, potentially compromising his ability to compete for Red Bull Racing this weekend at Martinsville. However, legal experts tell Sirius Speedway that Wednesday's press release from RPM announcing Kahne’s release was legally binding, and will allow Kahne to drive for Red Bull this weekend without violating his contract with RPM. A second source within Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed that a series of high-level meetings were held throughout the day Thursday in an attempt to ensure that the team will be able to compete past next weekend's race at Talldega Superspeedway.(Sirius Speedway)(10-22-2010)
UPDATE - Kahne is paid: Kahne said RPM has met all its financial responsibilities to him, dismissing rumors that the decision to split early made sense for both sides. Red Bull Racing will pay Kahne's salary the rest of the season. Kahne said talks about a split began on Monday, two days after the brakes failed on his car for the second time in three races (and third time this season), leaving the driver frustrated. Kahne defended his decision not to return to the race after repairs were made, saying he was sick and unable to continue. He was offended that an RPM official questioned his commitment, saying he needed to do his part to help the team. "Anybody that questions my commitment doesn't know me very well,'' Kahne said. "I don't know if there is anybody out there that puts as much into it as I do throughout the week. I was sick to my stomach and it was time for me to call it a day. I'm happy I did it and ready to get on with this weekend.'' Kahne said the decision to split was not based on speculation that financial difficulties concerning RPM. He said he wished the team well the rest of the season. Kahne said he has agreed to maintain his commitments to sponsor Budweiser for the remainder of the season, including all meet and greets. He added this was not the way he wanted to end his relationship with Budweiser or RPM, but reiterated it was best for all parties.(ESPN)(10-22-2010)
RPM may not run past Martinsville UPDATE 3: The house of cards is finally falling for George Gillett's Richard Petty Motorsports. The assembly line from Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates engines has stopped running to RPM. Engines have been picked up, cars have been repossessed, and sources on both sides -- RPM and RFR -- say no cars will be delivered beyond Martinsville this weekend. On Thursday morning, crewmen at RPM were told they may not have jobs after the race at Martinsville Speedway this weekend. Neither Petty team CEO Foster Gillett nor team Vice President Robbie Loomis could be reached for comment. RPM currently fields four cars in the Sprint Cup Series -- the #9, #19, #43 and #98. Kasey Kahne was released from his contract as of Wednesday night and is expected to drive for Red Bull Racing for the remainder of the year and in 2011. Elliott Sadler is expected to drive for Kevin Harvick Inc. next year. Paul Menard signed a multi-year deal to drive for Richard Childress Racing starting next year. His current crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe will continue his duties at RCR [supposedly Labbe will stay at RPM thru 2011....if they still exist]. AJ Allmendinger re-signed a multiyear deal to drive the #43 Ford this summer. Allmendinger is currently 20th in the point standings. Marcos Ambrose was signed to drive the #19 [actually the #9 car, not the #19] Ford in August. Ambrose currently drives for JTG/Daugherty Racing and is 26th in the point standings.(Fox Sports)(10-21-2010)
UPDATE: The story has now been updated to include: "Sources tell FOXSports.com that the Talladega cars were returned after 11:00 am/et Thursday, but they do not have engines or gears yet."(10-21-2010)
UPDATE 2: Multiple sources confirmed to SPEED.com on Thursday that Roush Fenway Racing, which builds RPM's cars, briefly repossessed RPM's Talladega cars and engines because of non-payment. Roush Fenway Racing allowed RPM to take the cars back Thursday morning, sources told SPEED.com. Additionally, sources said that one of the reasons Kahne was released from the team is that RPM owed him a substantial amount of back salary. A team spokesperson contacted Thursday afternoon declined to say whether or not Kahne was owed money, Roush Fenway Racing was owed money, when team owner George Gillett would publicly discuss his team's situation or what RPM's plans were beyond this weekend. "There's just nothing much to comment on right now," said Tiffany Breaux of Richard Petty Motorsports.(SPEED)(10-21-2010)
UPDATE 3: Sources tell Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that a number of Richard Petty Motorsports employees who had planned to join Kasey Kahne at Red Bull Racing next year were told my management today that their services are no longer required, effective immediately.(10-21-2010)
RPM owner Gillett, fighting takeover of soccer club: Richard Petty Motorsports majority owner George Gillett has fired the Board of Directors of his Liverpool soccer club in an attempt to derail a takeover of the club by New England Sports Ventures, owners of the Boston Red Sox. The board was scheduled to meet yesterday to consider bids from two potential buyers, but Gillett and co-owner Tom Hicks filed an injunction claiming the board was not acting in their best interest by entertaining those offers. The injunction sought to replace board chairman Martin Broughton and directors Christian Purslow and Ian Ayre with Hicks’ son, Mack Hicks, and Lori Kay McCutcheon, giving Gillett and Tom Hicks majority control of the club. New England Sports Ventures is controlled by John W. Henry [part owner of Roush Fenway Racing] and a group of partners that includes the New York Times Company and television producer Tom Werner. They purchased the Red Sox in 2002 and a subsidiary of NESV – Fenway Sports Group -- purchased a 50% ownership stake in what is now Roush Fenway Racing in February of 2007. How the sale will impact RPM, which recently restructured a $90 million loan agreement, is not immediately clear.(in part from Sirius Speedway see other articles if interested at scenedaily.com and guardian.co.uk)(10-6-2010)
RPM not ruling out 3rd team next year: It’s a given that Richard Petty Motorsports will field at least two teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2011, but team officials said this past weekend that it’s possible that the organization could field a third team as well. RPM currently fields four Cup teams for drivers #43-AJ Allmendinger, #9-Kasey Kahne, #98-Paul Menard and #19-Elliott Sadler. Kahne is scheduled to drive for Red Bull Racing next season while Menard is slated to join Richard Childress Racing; Sadler has said he isn’t expected to return to the organization’s #19 team. Team co-owner Richard Petty hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a third team. “We’ve talked to a lot of people about a third car, but our main deal is make sure we’ve got two really good cars, and then we try to do a third deal,” Petty said. “We’ve got until the end of the year [to make a decision]. If we’re downgrading from four teams to three teams, we’ve still got plenty of everything it would take to run that third car. It wouldn’t be like just having two, and then all of a sudden we’ve got to go out and get cars, people and trucks and all the equipment to run the third car. We can wait a pretty [long time], I think, as far as being able to get cars ready.”(Scene Daily)(9-27-2010)
Drivers visiting Walter Reed: NASCAR's annual visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center is set for Thursday, with a total of 10 drivers scheduled to attend along with NASCAR President Mike Helton. Drivers expected to visit include #43-AJ Allmendinger, #16-Greg Biffle, #2-Kurt Busch, #38-David Gilliland,#17-Matt Kenseth, #12-Brad Keselowski, #98-Paul Menard, #87-Joe Nemechek, #39-Ryan Newman and #82-Scott Speed. Show cars on display are expected to be #39 U.S. ARMY Chevy, #88 National Guard Chevy, #99 Scotts Ford, #2 Miller Lite Dodge, #11 FedEx Toyota, #24 National Guard Chevy, #10 Sprint show car and a NASCAR/Walter Reed Army Medical Center car.(NASCAR)(9-22-2010)
NHMS & RPM give tickets to employee's of Hartford Distributor: New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Richard Petty Motorsports are teaming up to make this weekend a little brighter for the employees impacted by the Hartford Distributor tragedy, by sending 250 tickets for all employees to the Sylvania 300 and four Richard Petty Motorsports NASCAR Sprint Cup Series haulers to the facility Thursday morning. One of the victims, Doug Scruton, had dreams of retiring in New Hampshire before the tragedy occurred. Scruton, 56 had worked for the company for 30 years and was months away from retirement in the White Mountains. Jerry Gappens, executive vice president and general manager of New Hampshire Motor Speedway was more than willing to donate the tickets to the employees and families. "I think it is just such a positive thing to give these folks the opportunity to come out to the speedway and enjoy themselves this weekend with some exciting NASCAR racing," said Gappens. "It was just the right thing to do." The Richard Petty Motorsports haulers will make a pit stop on their way to the speedway tomorrow at 8:00 am. The employees will have the opportunity to tour and visit with the four haulers and teams.(NHMS)(9-16-2010)
The King to be inducted into High School Hall of Fame MORE: been told that on Friday, August 27th, Richard Petty, the all-time winningest driver in Sprint Cup Series history, will be inducted into the Randleman High School Athletic Hall of Fame during halftime of the Tigers football game. The Randleman High School Athletic Hall of Fame is dedicated to preserving the colorful tradition of high school athletics in Randleman. The Hall of Fame seeks to highlight the past in order to insure a promising future for Randleman High School Athletics. Hall of Fame inductees shall receive an appropriate plaque and ring furnished by the Randleman High School Athletic department and shall be formally inducted at the first home football game. Space in the Randleman High School main lobby shall be set aside to commemorate the inductees.(8-26-2010)
MORE: Randleman High School will forever honor five names as its inaugural Hall of Fame class. “Since 1904, Randleman High School has been blessed with a rich athletic heritage. It would be a shame to let this important part of RHS die and never be remembered,” said RHS Hall of Fame committee chairman Terry Linthicum, who has been a part of the project which started early this year and will become reality Friday night. “Also, our present athletes need role models and inspirations to reach a higher standard.” Charles Gregory, Joe Brookshire, Richard Petty, Don Rich and Shelly Whitaker Barnes will be the first to enter the hall when induction ceremonies formally take place Friday night during halftime of the Tigers’ football home-opener against Central Davidson at Charles R. Gregory Stadium.
Richard Petty is arguably Randleman’s most famous alum. While not sporting such acclaimed athletic career bestowed with honors as his classmates, the three-sport athlete has maintained his steadfast commitment to his alma mater to this day. And as NASCAR’s still-reigning winningest driver since his retirement from racing in 1992, the King is still the benchmark for success, character and philanthropy in sports and life.
Earlier this year, a Hall of Fame committee was formed based on the knowledge of Randleman High School athletics, their years attending RHS — involving different decades — and dedication to the school. A member was named from each decade, beginning with the 1950s and four members were nominated.(Courier-Tribune)(8-27-2010)
Two cars for RPM in 2010 and: [Richard] Petty said Tuesday that the main focus at Richard Petty Motorsports will be on two cars next year. The organization is running four teams this season, but Kasey Kahne is leaving to join Red Bull Racing next year before heading off to Hendrick Motorsports in 2012. Also, Paul Menard leaves after this season to join Richard Childress Racing. Richard Petty Motorsports signed #43-AJ Allmendinger to a multi-year contract extension and added Marcos Ambrose [in the #9 Ford] to its lineup for next season. Petty said the organization could add another car "if something falls out of the sky, then naturally we're open.''(Roanoke Times), also Richard Petty says team has left it up to #9 crew chief Kenny Francis on if he returns and that they expect Best Buy back (all but contract done).(Dustin Long Twitter)(8-25-2010)
New Labonte team, to be RCR 4th team in 2011? The fourth [Richard Childress Racing] team is preparing for [Paul] Menard's arrival already as RCR will field the equipment and personnel for Terry Labonte in the three races he is doing this year for [#10 Gander Mountain Chevy] Stavola Labonte Racing to get that future Menard team up to speed. It's certainly a possibility that crew chief Doug Randolph, who is working as crew chief for Labonte in those races, could take the [crew chief] role with Menard next season.(FoxSports)(8-17-2010)
Mastercraft on the #98: Mastercraft will adorn the hood of the #98 Ford this weekend in Michigan. Mastercraft Cabinets has a long tradition of quality craftsmanship and dedicated employees who take tremendous pride in providing great products.(RPM)(8-12-2010)
Menard moving to Richard Childress Racing: UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing and Menards, the third-largest home improvement company in the United States, have signed a multi-year partnership agreement for the Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based company to become the primary sponsor of RCR's fourth NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team beginning in 2011 with driver Paul Menard. "Paul has developed into a very good race car driver, and we see his move to RCR next year as an opportunity for him to continue that progress," said Richard Childress, president and CEO of Richard Childress Racing. "At the same time, we feel Paul will contribute to the continued progress and success of RCR. Paul will fit in perfectly with our team of drivers at RCR, and they are all looking forward to working with him. We're also very proud to be aligned with Menards, one of the great family business success stories in American history." Further announcements about the program will be forthcoming.(RCR)(8-11-2010)
UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports issued the following statement in regards to the announcement that Paul Menard, driver of the #98 Menards Ford, will depart the team in 2011. "We have enjoyed having Paul Menard and the Menard family as a part of the Richard Petty Motorsports team this season," said NASCAR Hall of Famer and team owner Richard Petty. "Paul is in the middle of his best season of competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and we feel like our strong commitment to him and that team in addition to the great support from Ford Racing has been a major part of that," added Foster Gillett, managing partner and team owner. "With 14 races to go, we expect the #98 team to finish just as strong as it started this year."(RPM)(8-11-2010)
4th team for RCR? Menard? UPDATE: Richard Childress Racing is looking at possible expansion to four teams in the Sprint Cup Series in 2011 and is in the process of finalizing a deal to run next year's Nationwide Series program through Kevin Harvick Inc. Team owner Richard Childress said an announcement on the deal with KHI should be made soon. The plan is for RCR to supply engines to KHI for the Nationwide program and for RCR to field two teams in the Truck Series where Childress' grandson, Austin Dillon, drives the #3. RCR Cup drivers Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick would run KHI cars when in the Nationwide Series.
Childress would not comment on speculation that Paul Menard, who drives for Richard Petty Motorsports, would be his fourth driver. But he did say that a fourth team is a possibility. "We're looking at it," Childress said Sunday at Pocono Raceway. RCR had four teams in 2009, but returned to three this season after sponsorship for the fourth team and Casey Mears could not be found. Menard would bring the family business, Menard's, with him as a sponsor if he made the move. RPM does not have a deal with Menard for 2011, but has been in talks with Marcos Ambrose to drive either the #9 being vacated by Kasey Kahne or #19 currently driven by Elliott Sadler. Team officials are optimistic that AJ Allmendinger will be back in the #43 next season even though Allmendinger has talked to other teams.(ESPN)(8-1-2010)
UPDATE: Frontstretch is reporting #98-Paul Menard has agreed in principle to move to Richard Childress Racing for 2011. Sponsorship would continue to come from his father’s company, Menards, with a car number and crew chief to be announced. No word on an official announcement yet from either side, but the team would expand to four cars while retaining their current driver lineup of #31-Jeff Burton, #29-Kevin Harvick, and #33-Clint Bowyer.(Frontstretch)(8-5-2010)
UPDATE 2: Paul Menard appears to be closing in on a deal that will lock him into the fourth Sprint Cup car at Richard Childress Racing. Multiple sources have told FOXSports.com that Menard would drive the full Cup season at RCR, potentially in the #32 car, and pilot the #33 Chevy part-time in the Nationwide Series under the Kevin Harvick Inc. banner. When asked about his future Sunday at Pocono Raceway, Menard didn’t deny he was considering his options. “We have to cover our bases,” Menard said. “But we haven’t done anything yet.”(Fox Sports)(8-6-2010)
Silly Season kicking in gear at IMS:
• All signs point to Richard Childress Racing announcing the week of the Watkins Glen Race next month that Budweiser will be on #29-Kevin Harvick's car. Mobile 1 had been courting #24-Jeff Gordon, but HMS ended that by reupping with Quaker State. Don't be surprised to see that sponsor pop up at Stewart-Haas.
• Richard Petty Motorsports' future seemingly hangs on what #43-AJ Allmendinger does. If he and sponsor Best Buy stay, then #98-Paul Menard and his sponsor may hang around, as well. But Allmendinger has talked to several teams, including Penske Racing. Menard is beating the bushes as well, with speculation he'll be in the fourth car at Richard Childress Racing. All we know for sure is Stanley is the only sponsor contractually committed to the organization beyond this season. Odds are RPM will shrink from four teams to three, two or none. The last would be a huge blow to the garage and increase the possibility of fields of fewer than 43 cars next season. It also could end Richard Petty's presence in the garage, which would be sad to see.(ESPN.com)(7-25-2010)
Three drivers doing the double: From Thursday night through Sunday night, #99-Carl Edwards, #98-Paul Menard and #12-Brad Keselowski will log some 5,800 miles in the air to practice, qualify and race their Nationwide cars at Road America and their Sprint Cup cars in Infineon Raceway. They'll also give up track time for both events. The three participated in the 5 ½-hour test session Thursday in preparation for the inaugural Bucyrus 200 at Road America. But they'll miss practice Friday while in Sonoma and miss final practice there Saturday to qualify and race at Road America. Whereas in the recent past, double-duty drivers went from Sonoma to the Milwaukee Mile on this weekend, now at least they'll be driving the same style of racetrack at each venue. "Every time we go to Sonoma, that's our first road course of the year," Menard said. "For us to be spending all day here logging laps, I think it's going to help us for Sonoma and for missing on Saturday. "Obviously there's nothing like being on track on Saturday afternoon, but me, I've got Bill Elliott in my car out there for Saturday, and I can't think of a better guy." #2-Kurt Busch will practice in Keselowski's car as well as his own Saturday in Sonoma, and the early plan for Edwards' car is to leave it in the garage. Former Indy-car driver Michel Jourdain Jr. will practice Friday for Menard at Road America, where Roush Fenway Racing teammate Erik Darnell will fill in for Edwards and Penske Racing development driver Parker Kligerman will drive Keselowski's car. The drivers' odyssey began Wednesday, when they came to Wisconsin. Edwards flew his own plane and then took it to California, where it will remain until he goes home from there. He'll do the Friday night / Saturday night commute with Menard aboard the Citation X owned by Menard's father, home-improvement magnate John Menard, the fastest non-military plane available.(Milwaukee Journal Sentinel), it was also mentioned during SPEED's practice and qualifying coverage, that Elliott would also practice the #99 Ford as well as the #98 Fordn on Saturday.(6-18-2010)
Turtle Wax on the #98 at Darlington; testing next week: Turtle Wax be on the hood of Paul Menard's #98 Menard's Ford this weekend at Darlington Raceway. The #98 Richard Petty Motorsports team and Menard are scheduled at Gresham Motorsports Park (formerly Peach State Speedway) near Jefferson, Ga. next Tuesday.(RPM PR)(5-6-2010)
Warren back in NASCAR: Dr. Eric Warren will return to the NASCAR circuit starting on Monday. Warren, who worked as an engineer with Evernham Motorsports and Michael Waltrip Racing before joining the fledgling U.S. Formula One effort, will handle simulation projects for Richard Petty Motorsports.(FoxSports)(5-3-2010)
Gillette says RPM will recover from losing Kahne: Foster Gillett, the managing partner of Richard Petty Motorsports and son of team owner George Gillett Jr., said Friday the team will recover from #9-Kasey Kahne's decision to leave RPM after this year and sign with Hendrick Motorsports. Gillett said he knows Kahne's departure, along with some financial difficulties his family is experiencing, have caused doubts about RPM's future. "Many people last year were saying the same thing," Gillett said. "You know what? We're still here. We survived and thrived and we'll do it again. When change like this happens, it opens up opportunities for others. We are focusing on the opportunities we have more than what we lose." The move leaves RPM in limbo after losing its star driver. The other three drivers for RPM -- #43-AJ Allmendinger, #98-Paul Menard and #19-Elliott Sadler -- also have contracts that expire at the end of 2010. "It's a work in progress next season for our driver lineup," Gillett said. "That's not a secret. We are working to have the best drivers we can. Richard preaches to us to focus on building the best race cars we can and we'll have sponsors and drivers." Gillett said he hopes to keep Budweiser, which sponsors Kahne's car. "My family has a wonderful relationship with Anheuser Busch," Gillett said. "We will put out a maximum effort to keep them. If they ask me to run through this wall, I'll do it." George Gillett is in the process of restructuring a $90 million debt on a loan that's in default. The Gillett family also is trying to sell its interest in the Liverpool soccer team of the English Premier League. "It's no secret that my family is looking at all our options and doing all we can," Foster Gillett said. "The more liquidity we have, the better it is for NASCAR. This is a process we're trying to go through. We're nearing closure on that and I think good news is ahead. We've made a number of enormous changes to get better. I really believe in what we've done." Gillett had good things to say about Kahne and believes the No. 9 team will race well the rest of the season. Kahne ranks 26th in the standings, but made the Chase last year. "We are focused more on what we can do while we have him," Gillett said. "A lot of teams would take a 30-race contract with Kasey. He's one of the best guys in the sport and we are honored to have him. I know what a gentleman Kasey is. He's a quality person and he has great ability as a race car driver. If you give him great equipment he'll go win, and I believe we have a championship-caliber team in the 9. I know Kasey will do his best to uphold all his commitments." Gillett emphasized that he and his father are committed to NASCAR for the long haul. "My family made a choice to be in NASCAR," he said. "We've learned some hard lessons and I have to take responsibility for how things have gone. We've had some hardships, but we've gone through worse."(ESPN.com)(4-17-2010)
Richard Petty Motorsports in default on loan UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports, the NASCAR team owned by George Gillett, has been in default on a roughly $90 million loan since at least February but expects to soon restructure the obligation, sources said last week. The default on the debt underscores the harm NASCAR suffered from the economic collapse of late 2008 and, in particular, the impact of contraction among Detroit's Big Three automakers on race teams. Gillett, who last year sold the Montreal Canadiens and still owns half of Liverpool FC, lost Chrysler's backing of his race team when that company filed for bankruptcy protection. Ford is now supporting the four-car team. Gillett declined to comment on specifics of the restructuring because of the ongoing creditor talks, but he emphasized the default is technical in nature, meaning that he did not miss a payment but, rather, failed to meet terms of at least one covenant. Loans commonly have covenants that might, for example, require the borrower to sustain a certain level of cash flow. Prior to the economic troubles of late 2008, lenders were relatively lenient with these kinds of defaults, but they since have become more stringent and less forgiving. One finance source, who requested anonymity because of knowledge of the deal, denied Gillett's characterization, insisting the default was payment-related.(Sports Business Journal / Fox News)(4-13-2010)
UPDATE: Richard Petty Motorsports agreed Monday night to a deal that would restructure the debt of the company, a source close to the situation told ESPN.com on Tuesday. According to the source, the deal is subject to final signatures and that 10 of the 11 banks involved in the restructuring have agreed to terms. This comes on the heels of a report that RPM, owned by George Gillett, has been in default on a loan of about $90 million since February. The source said the loan is closer to $70 million and that it was allowed to lapse with the hope that it would provide leverage with the banks to restructure. Had the banks opted to foreclose on the loan they could have taken possession of team assets and some revenue from sponsors, but none of Gillett's personal assets. Gillett would not comment on specifics of the deal but said RPM has no plans of going under. "I don't think we'll just survive, we'll thrive," Gillett said. Gillett said RPM is operating in the black and making a profit. He said debt incurred over the past few years is the result of trying to survive in a tough economy that saw RPM lose financial support from Chrysler, forcing the move to Ford, and sponsors. "When you look at some of the curveballs thrown at us they're substantial," Gillett said. "Yet we've overcome them. We've overcome the loss of all that revenue from sponsors and Chrysler. Based on everything I know our intention is to restructure the debt, enter into an agreement with banks and buy out the debt with new capital that our family would put into and end up with a company that may end up a few million in debt but end up with a company that is fundamentally debt-free," he said.(ESPN)(4-14-2010)
Petty updates wife's condition: Richard Petty updated his wife Lynda's condition on Sunday, saying doctors are confident she can defeat cancer. Lynda Petty is being treated at Duke University Medical Center for central nervous system lymphoma, a form of brain cancer. "She's already had a couple of treatments and she went through them real good," Petty said. "Yesterday she looked at me and said, 'Get up and get out of here and get on to Daytona.' So I know she's doing pretty good. They [her doctors] feel like they can completely wipe the cancer out." Petty, who shares the Sprint Cup record of seven championships along with Dale Earnhardt Sr., is the co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports. Petty said he hasn't been involved with the team much since Lynda became ill. RPM merged with Yates Racing last month. "Since November I've spent a lot of time with Lynda Gale," Petty said. "After more than 50 years together, I thought that's what I needed to do. I've still been involved in all major decisions [at RPM]. But some of the PR stuff I put on the back burner. She is more important than racing right now." Petty said his wife started showing systems of vision problems a year ago, but it took doctors a long time to diagnose the problem. "It took until December for them to really understand the problem and the way to treat it. They have operated on both her eyes to make sure they are in good shape when the cancer goes away." Petty said he's thankful for all the interest and support his family has received from fans and friends. "Just keep us in your prayers," he said. "We've been real fortunate. We appreciate everybody thinking about her."(ESPN)(2-14-2010)
Get well Lynda Petty UPDATE: Lynda Petty, wife of NASCAR legend Richard Petty, will undergo a medical procedure Friday to determine the underlying cause of an ongoing medical condition. "My family has always been my number one priority. I hate to miss any racing or racing-related event but at this time being with my wife Lynda is where I need to be," Richard Petty said. The Petty family is thankful for the support from family, friends, fans, and all those in the racing community and asks for the continued respect for their privacy during this time. Richard and Lynda Petty celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2009.(NASCAR.com)(1-22-2010)
UPDATE: Richard Petty's wife, Lynda, has been diagnosed with CNS (Central Nervous System) Lymphoma. Mrs. Petty will be treated at the Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center at Duke University Medical Center. "We are thankful for the medical team at Duke. My wife Lynda is in good hands," Richard Petty said Thursday in a team statement. "The doctors and our family are very optimistic that the treatment for this cancer will be successful." The Petty family appreciates the support from family, friends, and fans as well as the continued respect for their privacy during this time.(NASCAR.com/RPM)(2-4-2010)
Front Row could have three cars in Top-35: UPDATE: Front Row Motorsports General Manager Jerry Freeze told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody Tuesday that negotiations are underway to give all three of the team’s Fords guaranteed start status for the first five races of 2010. “We’ve been working on this for several weeks,” he said. “There are still some details to be ironed out, but we have a really close relationship with (Yates Racing owner) Doug Yates and Ford. This is something we’ve been working on with them, and I hope to have things buttoned up and ready to announce in a couple of days.” Freeze said driver Robert Richardson, III, will attempt to qualify FRR’s new #38 Ford for the Daytona 500 as part of a three-race sponsorship with Mahindra Tractors that includes both Daytona races and the spring race at Talladaga. David Gilliland will run a majority of the schedule for the team with sponsorship from Taco Bell, and Freeze said “a couple of races” have been left open for a possible limited return by the team’s 2009 #34 driver, John Andretti.(Sirius Speedway)(1-19-2010)
UPDATE: Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that talks are underway between Yates Racing and Front Row Motorsports to enable a transfer of owner's points that would lock all three Front Row Motorsports Fords into the first five races of the 2010 season. Reliable sources say Front Row Motorsports will assume the owner's points accrued last season by Yates' #96 and #98 Fords, which finished 31st and 33rd respectively in the final 2009 owner's standings. Talks are reportedly in their preliminary stages, but are progressing rapidly with an eye toward completing the deal by midweek. It is expected that in order for the dagreement to pass muster with NASCAR, Yates Racing owner Doug Yates will have to assume a minority ownership stake in Front Row Motorsports. Front Row's #34 car is already a guaranteed starter in the first five races after finishing 35th in owner's points a year ago.(Sirius Speedway), the #98 RPM Ford team of Paul Menard would use the #44 Owners Points from 2009, which ranked 24th. See the way it looks right now on my 2010 Owners Points Stadings for 1st Five races page to see how things are shaking out.(2-1-2010)
Most NASCAR drivers don't fare well in Rolex 24: Full-time NASCAR drivers were shut out from the winner’s circle and even podium finishes Sunday at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The 24-hour race was won by the Porsche of Action Express Racing driven by Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Mike Rockenfeller and Ryan Dalziel. They finished 50 seconds ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing’s car driven by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas as well as Germain Racing part-time Cup driver Max Papis and IndyCar Series driver Justin Wilson. Ganassi’s other car – co-driven by his Cup drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray as well as his IndyCar Series drivers Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon – blew an engine while leading less than nine hours into the event at Daytona. About half the field did not finish the race, including four-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as his Bob Stallings Racing car had an oil pump issue and retired with about four hours remaining. Richard Petty Motorsports had two drivers in the field. AJ Allmendinger drove for Michael Shank Racing and was in third when his engine blew less than two hours prior to the finish and the team had to settle for seventh. Paul Menard drove for Spirit of Daytona Racing, which retired before the halfway point and wound up 32nd. Roush Fenway Racing Nationwide Series driver Colin Braun had the best day of the NASCAR contingent as he was part of the fourth-place Krohn Racing team. TRG Motorsports’ Bobby Labonte drove one of the team cars and was leading before running out of fuel and having to be towed back to the pits with about five hours remaining. Other mechanical issues plagued the team, which finished 16th overall, ninth in the Grand Touring class. Part-time Cup driver Boris Said was part of a Turner Motorsport team that finished 15th overall, eighth in the GT class.(Scene Daily)(2-1-2010)
Richard Petty Motorsports Merger Now Complete: Rumors of a Richard Petty Motorsports/Yates Racing merger began circulating a few months ago but it wasn't until today that the racing community could stop calling them rumors. "I'm here to announce the best kept secret in all of motorsports, which is that the merger between Yates Racing and Richard Petty Motorsports is officially completed," said Foster Gillette, managing partner of Richard Petty Motorsports, in a press conference Tuesday morning. The merger, which happened in December, brought some big changes along with it. During the 2010 season Richard Petty Motorsports will be running Ford Fusions, ending its long relationship with Dodge. Also, RPM will leave behind its previous home in Statesville, N.C., moving to the Yates Racing facility in Concord, N.C. Filling the four driver positions at RPM will be #19-Elliott Sadler, #9-Kasey Kahne, #43-AJ Allmendinger and #98-Paul Menard. "The addition of a great team, great talent of drivers - we have Elliott, Paul, Kasey, and AJ adding to the fleet of Fords out there on every Sunday," said Jamie Allison, Director of Ford Racing. "That's something to be looking forward to." Richard Petty Motorsports will maintain the alliance that Yates Racing had with Roush Fenway Racing and Doug Yates will be in charge or the Roush Yates engine program.(Charlotte Motor Speedway Sprint Media Tour Notes)(1-20-2010)
Menard to run full Nationwide season: Roush Fenway will field four full-time teams in the 2010 Nationwide Series -- including a #98 Ford for Paul Menard, who races for Richard Petty Motorsports in the Cup Series -- and RFR president Geoff Smith said Wednesday that the stable sold has more than 75% of the sponsorship of its eight-car fleet in NASCAR's two top national series. Menard will run his first complete schedule since 2006, when he finished sixth in the championship for the second consecutive season before stepping into the Cup Series full time. That car is fully sponsored by the Menards home improvement store chain and a variety of partners. Smith said RFR's other three Nationwide programs had varying sponsorship gaps. Former series champion Carl Edwards will again compete full time in both Cup and Nationwide, running a #60 Ford sponsored by Fastenal and Copart in the secondary series. Smith said Edwards' car has "four open races." Colin Braun and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will run full schedules as rookie of the year candidates in the #16 and #6 cars. Braun's car has 18 races with Con-way Freight and two more with 3M, leaving 15 of the series' 35 races unsponsored. Stenhouse has 18 races with CitiFinancial backing, leaving "the remainder for sale," Smith said. Biffle is part of a previously announced deal to run a partial Nationwide schedule for Baker Curb Racing, but "at this point in time David Ragan, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle are not doing Nationwide races with us."(NASCAR.com)(1-14-2010)
Yates to be honored Saturday night: Robert Yates [former owner of Yates Racing #28, #38, #88 teams - to merge with RPM] will be inducted into the National Motorsports Press Association Hall of Fame Saturday night in Concord, N.C. Yates, who is still staying active away from the race track, recently spoke about his induction with Ford Racing. See the full interview at the Ford Racing site inclduing what retired life is like, Junior Johnson, does Yates follow NASCAR now and thoughts on Yates Racing merging with Richard Petty Motorsports.(Ford Racing)(1-13-2010)
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)
TRG and Labbe part ways UPDATE 3 to the #98: Official Statement from TRG Motorsports Regarding Former Crew Chief Slugger Labbe: TRG Motorsports today released Slugger Labbe as crew chief of the #71 Cup car. TRG appreciates Slugger's dedication in its first year as a Cup organization where he helped guide the team to 35 consecutive starts and TRG's first top-10 finish in the Sprint Cup Series. TRG Motorsports will, as planned, compete full time in 2010 with Bobby Labonte behind the wheel of the #71 with TaxSlayer.com on-board for a good portion of the season and is currently in negotiations with several top-level crew chiefs.(TRG Motorsports)(12-3-2009)
UPDATE: Labbe has several offers on the table and is expected to make an announcement concerning his future on Monday. GM Mike Brown has left TRG as well. Brown was a longtime fixture at Bill Davis Racing prior to joining TRG in March. Brown says he has no formal plans but "several irons in the fire".(FoxSports)(12-4-2009)
UPDATE 2: Labbe will be the crew chief for Paul Menard and the #98 Menard's Ford in 2010. A formal announcement is expected from Yates Racing on Monday. Labbe parted ways with TRG Motorsports on Thursday to accept the new role. Labbe was touring the Yates shops on Friday and was introduced as "Menard's new crew chief," several sources confirmed. Menard's previous crew chief Larry Carter parted ways with the organization at season's end.(FoxSports)(12-4-2009)
UPDATE 3: Richard "Slugger" Labbe will serve as the new crew chief for #98-Paul Menard. Labbe left his position at TRG Motorsports to join what will be Richard Petty Motorsports when the merger with Yates Racing is completed. He began work at RPM last Friday in the Concord, N.C., shop and already is preparing Fords for the 2010 season. It is a homecoming of sorts for Labbe, who worked out of then Robert Yates Racing's Concord shop from 1998-2001, helping the late Kenny Irwin Jr. win Rookie of the Year honors in 1998.(ESPN.com)(12-11-2009)
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)
Vertis makes debut on #98: The #98 Ford of Paul Meanard will unload the Vertis / Menards Ford Fusion for the first time this season. Vertis Communications is a premier provider of targeted advertising and marketing solutions to America's leading retail and consumer services companies.(Yates Racing)(11-5-2009)
More layoffs after 2009 season?: Teams have predicted that the unemployment lines following the season finale at Homestead will exceed the numbers we witnessed following 2008. Under NASCAR's four-car rule, Roush Fenway Racing loses one team under its roof and another across the street at Yates Racing. While employees have been told there will be movement in the ranks with the potential of a Richard Petty Motorsports/Yates merger, in either case a minimum of two teams will dissolve — the #26 and the #44. The #96 Hall of Fame Racing team will no longer use the services of Yates Racing in 2010. However, the #98 team could remain under the Yates banner — and not RPM — in order to keep Paul Menard in the fold. Regardless, the four teams (98, 9, 19 and 43) are expected to operate under one roof.(FoxSports)(11-3-2009)
Zecol returns to #98: The #98 team will unload the Zecol / Menards Ford for this weekend's AMP Energy 500. Zecol produces Professional quality, High Performance automotive chemicals and additives.(Yates Racing PR)(10-30-2009)
Ask.com? Menards to #07 team?
Sources say Ask.com could come aboard the fourth [Richard Childress Racing #07 Chevy] car for a partial schedule, but [Casey] Mears could just as easily lose the ride to Paul Menard, who can bring a full sponsorship. Doug Randolph [the new #07 crew chief], coincidentally, was Menard's crew chief at Dale Earnhardt Inc. And hearing John Menard is pushing for his son to drive for RCR in 2010, but Paul [#98 Menards Ford] wants to remain in his current situation.(FoxSports)(10-24-2009)
Energizer on the #98: The #98-Paul Menard / Yates Racing team will unload the Energizer / Menards Ford for this weekend's Pepsi 500 at Auto Club Speedway.(Yates Racing PR)(10-8-2009)
Menard's 2010 plans not firm: John Menard said on Sunday that plans are not firm as to where his son Paul [#98 Menards Ford] and the lucrative Menards sponsorship will be next season. "We'll just see how it works out," Menard said. According to Menard, Paul is in the first year of a two-year contract which is non-transferable. Should Yates Racing merge with Richard Petty Motorsports [as was announced a couple weeks ago], the contract would be null and void.(FoxSports)(10-5-2009)
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)
Different hood decal for Menard at Kansas: The #98 Ford of Paul Menard will unload the Zecol / Menards Ford Fusion for this weekend’s Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway. It is the first time Zecol will be featured on the hood of the #98 Menard's Ford. Zecol produces Professional quality, High Performance automotive chemicals and additives.(Yates Racing)(10-1-2009)
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)
Menard says he will not be going to #07 car: #98-Paul Menard denied speculation that he is a candidate to replace #07-Casey Mears in the fourth car [Chevy] at Richard Childress Racing next season. Reports this past weekend from Dover International Speedway had Menard, sponsored by his father's company, touring the RCR facility in Welcome, N.C. He supposedly is unhappy with the merger between Yates and Richard Petty Motorsports and is looking for a new home.(see more at ESPN Insider)(9-28-2009)
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)
Robby and Menard to sport Sylvania colors at NHMS: Robby Gordon and Paul Menard will be "racing to the future of lighting" at this year's Sprint Cup Series kick-off, the Sylvania 300. Menard will be behind the wheel of the Sylvania- DOT·it covered #98 Ford Fusion and his fellow competitor Gordon will take to the track in the Sylvania blue and orange painted #7 Toyota Camry. This season is Gordon's inaugural season driving Sylvania colors, while it marks the third year in a row that Menard has driven the Sylvania car. Additionally, Matt Crafton will be driving the #88 Sylvania Chevy Silverado in the Camping World Truck Series race on Sept. 19th.(PR Newswire.(9-14-2009)
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)
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)
Menard & Stremme to reach milestones: #98-Paul Menard and #12-David Stremme are scheduled to make their 100th career Sprint Cup starts this weekend when they race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, becoming the 177th and 178th drivers to reach the century mark in Sprint Cup Series history.(Team PR's.NASCAR)(9-2-2009)
PEAK on the #98 at Bristol: PEAK will be back on the hood of the #98 PEAK / Menards Ford for this weekend's Sharpie 500.(Yates Racing PR)(8-20-2009)
#98 Crew Member injured, is OK: During a pit stop on lap 149 for tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment at Michigan on Sunday, Ryan McCray, the rear tire carrier for the #98 Menards Ford that Paul Menard drives, was hit by the #33 Chevy of Clint Bowyer, who was pitting in the box directly behind them. As McCray pulled the tire off the right-rear side, and ran behind the #98, the #33 was exiting his pit box; hit the tire McCray was carrying and shot the tire directly into McCray’s knee. McCray finished the stop, but had to be treated by the medical team. McCray was seen and released from the Infield Care Center and will return to action next week.(Yates Racing)(8-17-2009)
Menard back with Yates in 2010: Yates Racing co-owner Max Jones said Sunday morning that the team plans to be back up to at least two cars next season, with Paul Menard and the Menards sponsorship returning to the #98 Yates Racing Ford in 2010.
Menard has had a disappointing first season with the team which had spurred rumors that the driver and sponsor might move to a different team next season. But Jones said the driver and his sponsor will both continue forward in 2010. “The Menards deal is in place,” Jones said Sunday morning at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jones said he was unsure if Yates would campaign the HoF [#96-Bobby Labonte] car again in 2010, saying talks to extend the partnership are underway, but the outcome uncertain. Another possibility is to take the fifth Roush Fenway Racing Ford next season, when NASCAR will require that team to downsize from five to four cars [possibly the #26 Ford with Jamie McMurray...if he stays]. Jones said that one way or another, Yates expects to run at least two cars next year.(SPEEDtv)(7-27-2009)
Born on Date: November 29, 2008