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RPM may not run past Martinsville
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, which supply chassis and engines respectively, 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 this weekend.
Sources tell FOXSports.com that the Talladega cars were returned after 11 a.m. ET Thursday, but they do not have engines or gears yet.
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.A spokesperson for the company said there was nothing to comment on at this time.
The recent developments come just weeks after Roush Fenway Racing co-owner John W. Henry’s New England Sport Ventures acquired the debt-riddled Liverpool Football Club of the Premier League, which is co-owned by Gillett, on Oct. 6 for $477 million. After the sale was complete, however, Gillett and his business partner Tom Hicks threatened to sue NESV for damages of at least $1.6 billion for “an extraordinary swindle" because they felt the team was undervalued in the sale.
Along with being Jack Roush’s partner in the Roush Fenway Racing operation, Henry is the owner of record on the Nos. 6 and 17 Fords of David Ragan and Matt Kenseth.
On Twitter following the sale, Henry wrote, “We have a binding contract. Will fight Mill Hicks Gillett attempt to keep club today. Their last desperate attempt to entrench their regime.”
Ray Evernham founded what is now RPM in 2000. George Gillett became majority owner in August 2007 and renamed the company Gillett Evernham Motorsports. A partnership developed between the organization and Richard Petty toward the end of the 2008 season and beginning in 2009 the organization was re-branded Richard Petty Motorsports with the King serving as the front man.
RPM currently fields four cars in the Sprint Cup Series -- the Nos. 9 (Aric Almirola), 19 (Elliott Sadler), 43 (AJ Allmendinger) and 98 (Paul Menard). Kasey Kahne was released from his contract as of Wednesday night and will drive for Red Bull Racing for the remainder of the year and in 2011. Sadler is expected to drive for Kevin Harvick Inc., which fields Nationwide and Truck teams, next year. Menard signed a multiyear deal to drive for Richard Childress Racing starting next year. His current crew chief Richard “Slugger” Labbe will continue his duties at RCR.
Allmendinger re-signed a multiyear deal to drive the No. 43 Ford this summer. Allmendinger is currently 20th in the points standings. Marcos Ambrose was signed to drive the No. 19 Ford in August with Stanley Tools as his primary sponsor. Ambrose currently drives for JTG Daugherty Racing and is 26th in the points standings.