FOX Sports Exclusive
Sources: Petty talking with 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.
Fallout at RPM
RPM's managing partner makes an appearance at Homestead, but refuses to discuss team's future.
Petty team's collapse part of larger NASCAR problem.
Gillett’s financial difficulty puts RPM future in doubt.
In the past week, Petty has scrambled to salvage what is left of his brand and the No. 43. This latest development, however, doesn’t appear to involve Petty’s current partner George Gillett, the majority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports.
Gillett is still recuperating from the financial hit taken from the sale of Liverpool Football Club to New England Sport Ventures on Oct. 15.
And on Tuesday, the Tahoe Daily Tribune reported Gillett’s Booth Creek Resort Properties sold Northstar-at-Tahoe to Vail Resorts for $63 million.
Currently, RPM fields four Fords in the Sprint Cup Series. Gillett is named as the owner of record on the Nos. 9, 19 and 98. Petty’s name is on the No. 43. John Andretti drove the No. 43 to its last win in 1999 at Martinsville when it was a Pontiac fielded by Petty Enterprises.
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.
Budweiser, which currently sponsors the No. 9, leaves at the end of the year to become the primary sponsor on the No. 29 Chevrolet with Kevin Harvick. Paul Menard will retain his family’s backing as he moves to Richard Childress Racing. While Best Buy currently supports AJ Allmendinger and the No. 43 Ford, the sponsorship has yet to be renewed.
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.
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