Could there be a No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet in the Sprint Cup Series in 2013?
According to sources, principals from RPM met with Richard Childress Racing management earlier this week to discuss the possibility of becoming a satellite team similar to the relationship that the Welcome, N.C.-based organization has with Furniture Row Racing.
“No comment on anything because I don’t have a clue what’s going on,” Richard Petty said. “When we get everything squared away, we’ll talk to you. Other than that, there ain’t nothing. There ain’t nothing there ‘til we bring something there, and right now we have nothing.”
In 2009, RPM switched from Dodge to Ford. But the announcement that Penske Racing was joining Ford in 2013 devalued Petty’s status in the pecking order.
Sources say the move to Chevrolet would include technical support from the manufacturer in the form of sheet metal, wind tunnel time and engineering. Petty Enterprises last ran Pontiacs under the General Motors banner before switching to Dodge in 2001.
Only one team from the organization has qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup since RPM was rebranded in 2009. Kasey Kahne scored two victories, earned a Chase berth and finished 10th that season. At the end of the 2010 season, after ownership by George Gillett, RPM’s assets were purchased by Petty, Doug Bergeron and Andy Murstein, and the organization was pared down to a two-car operation for 2011. That company won its first race with Marcos Ambrose last year at Watkins Glen, and the driver backed that up with a second victory at the road course last month.
Ambrose and Aric Almirola currently compete for RPM and are 16th and 22nd, respectively, in the standings. But both drivers’ contracts are up this season.
When asked whether Almirola would be renewed in 2013, Petty replied, “I think it was a one-year contract.”