It’s been a hugely disappointing 2016 season for Richard Petty Motorsports, and Thursday morning the team announced a shake-up in its competition department to try and address its performance shortcomings.
Out is Sammy Johns, RPM’s director of race operations, who will be replaced temporarily by Philippe Lopez and Scott McDougall. Lopez is RPM’s operations manager, while McDougall is the team’s director of research and development.
After 23 races in the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series campaign, RPM drivers Aric Almirola and Brian Scott are 25th and 33rd, respectively, in points. Neither driver has a top-10 finish this year, and collectively, they have led only seven laps.
These results are especially discouraging since Almirola made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2014 and nearly made it last year.
"The past several years, we have made significant investments in our organization with the goal of winning races and to compete at a high level on a weekly basis," said RPM CEO Brian Moffitt in a statement released by the team. "We now have direction over our own chassis and bodies and work closely with Ford Performance on technology and engineering. With these investments, unfortunately, we have not seen the on-track results that we expected this season.
"As we look ahead to 2017, we are taking steps forward to improve our on-track product to better serve our partners and fans. This means analyzing every part of our organization and making adjustments where needed. Sammy Johns has been a big part of our organization; he helped us succeed in many different ways and helped us become a winning race team. We wish him nothing but the best going forward."
Lopez and McDougall will begin their duties at the track in Darlington this weekend.