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Richard Petty Motorsports changes team structure
Richard Petty Motorsports announced Friday that it will field one car next season in NASCAR's premier series with hopes of returning to a two-car stable in 2018. The Richard Petty -owned operation plans to focus its efforts on its flagship No. 43 Ford driven by Aric Almirola next year. Brian Moffitt, the organization's CEO, indicated in a statement Friday that the team plans to lease one of its two charters it has in NASCAR's top division. "At the conclusion of the 2016 season, we evaluated how to best improve our on-track product. We feel that it's in the best interest of our partners and for Richard Petty Motorsports to focus our resources on the No. 43 Ford Fusion and Aric in 2017. A concentrated effort on one team will position us for improvement while giving us adequate time to re-establish our two-car team in 2018. For the interim, we will lease one of our two charters." The realignment temporarily shutters the No. 44 Ford team most recently driven by Brian Scott , who retired from full-time competition at season's end. Almirola has been with the Petty organization since 2012. He scored his first premier series victory in July 2014 at Daytona International Speedway , landing the No. 43 team its first win since 1999 and punching the ticket for RPM's only appearance in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. The Mooresville, North Carolina-based team began producing its own chassis before last season, then endured a significant performance dropoff in 2016. Almirola tumbled from 17th to 26th in the series' final standings, and Scott managed only a 31st-place result overall in his only season with the team. Almirola and Scott posted just one top-10 finish each in the 36-race campaign. Friday's announcement follows two competition changes for RPM in the second half of last season. On Aug. 31, the organization replaced Sammy Johns, its director of operations, with Philippe Lopez and Scott McDougall to oversee competition duties. The organization also made a crew chief change for the No. 43 team on Sept. 13, replacing Trent Owens with Drew Blickensderfer for the final 10 races of the season. &amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;
Petty's Garage expanding; renovations set for '17
LEVEL CROSS, N.C. -- Petty's Garage will expand the Level Cross, North Carolina, speed shop with a $2.4 million investment. The expansion will include renovations to the shop and the addition of 17 new jobs over the next two years. Construction is slated for the first quarter of 2017. The expansion will allow the team to continue their high-quality performance parts, restorations and custom builds that are fit for "The King." The added renovations will increase capacity for manufacturing automotive parts, as well as restoring and modifying cars and specialty builds to decrease the service wait time and meet demand. The added jobs will include technicians, as well as management positions, and marketing and sales jobs to the existing Petty's Garage team of 33 employees. "We're thrilled to announce the expansion of Petty's Garage," said Richard Petty , owner of Petty's Garage. " Petty's Garage is the shop where I grew up building racecars and it is very special to me. It's great that we've now built the demand to expand our team and increase our capabilities. We want to continue the tradition of renovation and innovation. To add to the economic development of Randolph County, and bring new jobs to the community, is something we're extremely proud of as well." Petty's Garage was founded by Petty as a way to keep his competitive spirit alive. Petty -- representing the second of four generations of Petty racers -- won 200 NASCAR races in his career, a record many believe will never be broken. He also holds the record for most wins (27) in a season in 1967, including a record-setting 10 consecutive wins. About Petty's Garage In June 2008 Petty's Garage, a Level Cross, North Carolina-based company, was born to begin restorations on racecar chassis from owner Richard Petty's private collection. Petty's Garage is currently bringing "The King's" winning tradition to a wide variety of high-performance automobiles from production-based Richard Petty Signature Series to custom builds and restorations. Petty's Garage is a high performance speed shop focused on spectacular performance automobiles.
By the Numbers: Petty vs. Earnhardt vs. Johnson
Jimmie Johnson tied Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt with his seventh premier series title this year. Below is a comparison of stats between the three drivers, with the obvious caveat that Johnson is still an active driver. Note : Graphic by Mike Sales
Fire contained at Richard Petty Museum, Petty's Garage
A fire earlier Saturday at the longtime location of Petty Enterprises in Level Cross, North Carolina, did only minimal damage to the historical site, according to officials with the organization. The former race shop compound now houses the Richard Petty Museum and Petty's Garage, a high-performance speed and restoration shop. Richard Petty is NASCAR's all-time leader in premier series wins with 200 victories and is one of only two drivers to win seven championships. According to information from the team, the fire was contained to a portion of the building and was quickly under control by local fire responders. TV station WFMY reported on its web site that a call came in at approximately 12:40 p.m. ET. No injuries were reported at the facility, and no cause of the fire was provided. Three-time series champion Lee Petty started Petty Enterprises, originally Petty Engineering, as NASCAR, incorporated in 1948, was just appearing on the scene. As the family-owned Petty organization flourished, what was once nothing more than a single 800-square-foot structure grew as well. Before the organization stopped running its race teams out of the Level Cross location to move closer to Charlotte, North Carolina, the one-room shop had expanded to include 16 additions.
Richard Petty Motorsports
The history of Richard Petty Motorsports and full crews for Aric Almirola and Brian Scott.
Richard Petty Motorsports releases pit crew coach
Richard Petty Motorsports released longtime pit crew coach Gary Smith effective Monday. We have not heard what the future plans are for RPM's athletic department nor have we heard of another coach replacing Smith. ( UPDATE on 4/26: RPM hired Robb Rogers as Smith's replacement. Rogers has been a professional coach since 1980 and a national lecturer since 1985.) Coach Smith has been around pit road for many years and is very knowledgeable about pit stops. For more pit crew news, visit PitTalks.com .
Petty family announces 10-month celebration for 'The King's 80th birthday
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 3, 2016) - The Petty family and its brand of companies today announced a 10-month long campaign to celebrate NASCAR Hall of Fame driver and owner, "The King" Richard Petty turning 80. Petty may not be celebrating his 80th birthday until July 2, 2017, but the Petty brand of companies including, Richard Petty Motorsports , Petty's Garage, Petty Family Foundation, Petty Museum and Victory Junction, plan to celebrate for the next 10 months. The Petty family, who are well known for giving back to local communities and race fans, is now turning the table, allowing fans to give their thanks of 80 years with "The King." The Petty family introduced a celebration calendar this week, www.KINGs80th.com , where fans can follow the various activities planned leading to the Petty's birthday celebration in Daytona Beach, Fla.in 2017. To kick off the activities, Petty's children, Kyle, Lisa, Rebecca and Sharon, Petty's Garage and Ford Motor Company partnered to surprise the American Icon with the 43rd and last build of the 2017 Petty's Garage "King Edition" Ford Mustang GT. The car is colored silver and is one of now only 26 left available to the public through your local Ford dealer. The family presented the keys to the car today at the prestigious and popular Mustang Club Car Show in Indianapolis, Indiana. "We are so proud to celebrate Daddy's birthday with all his fans over the course of the next year," said Rebecca Petty -Moffitt. "There is no better way to kick it off than with Ford Motor Company and Petty's Garage allowing us to give Dad the 43rd build of the 'King Edition' Ford Mustang GT. Ford is a huge supporter of all of the Petty brands with strong partnerships with Richard Petty Motorsports , Petty's Garage, Victory Junction and more, and even provided support for Dad during his career. We have so much more planned for our fans; today is just the start." In addition to today's car giveaway, the Petty Museum announced its newest offering to fans. The Petty Museum is now offering shirts that replicate the first racing tee Petty wore. The shirt features the 1964 Plymouth that Petty raced. The shirt will be available at the Petty Museum and on their website until July 2017. All of the Petty brands will get in on the action. Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) will engage fans with special promotions, including special packages from its sponsors. Petty's Garage will continue their celebration during their mobile tour stops throughout the country. The Petty Museum will soon announce special apparel along with additional merchandise throughout the celebration. Petty Museum will culminate their celebration with the opening of the Petty -Toomes Homestead historical landmark in Level Cross, N.C., the birthplace for Petty . Petty Family Foundation, Victory Junction and the Kyle Petty Charity Ride will also join the celebration during various events throughout the year, including special donations to the charities throughout the year. Stay tuned to www.KINGs80th.com as all brands continue to expand the celebration through licensing partners and other special celebration promotions. Fans are welcome to join in the conversation through social media using the hashtag, #KINGs80th across all Petty entities.
NASCAR's Charter teams
RELATED: Driver Tracker for every full-time 2017 ride MORE: Learn more about the Charter system NASCAR revealed in February 2016 a landmark new ownership structure, awarding 36 Charters that guarantee entry into every points event in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Since then, some leasing and buying of Charters has occurred. The table below shows the Charters (which were awarded following the 2015 season) for 2017. Teams listed alphabetically. Notes: *Premium Motorsports sold this Charter to Furniture Row Racing for its second team, the No. 77. In 2016, the Charter was leased by the No. 46 team of HScott Motorsports . ** Richard Petty Motorsports is leasing the No. 44 Charter to the No. 32 team of Go Fas Racing in 2017. *** Roush Fenway Racing will lease the No. 16 Charter to JTG Daugherty Racing 's newly formed second team (No. 37) in 2017. ^Near the end of the 2016 season, Tommy Baldwin Racing sold its Charter to Leavine Family Racing . # HScott Motorsports ' No. 15 Charter was sold to Premium Motorsports. & Go Fas Racing is leasing the No. 32 Charter to the No. 21 team of Wood Brothers Racing . $ Circle Sport and The Motorsports Group merged operations to field the No. 33 team with the Charter Circle Sport had. In 2016, Circle Sport partnered with Leavine Family Racing to field the No. 95 for the season.
H2H: Which driver is set for a big rebound in 2017
The 2016 NASCAR season was a fairy-tale ending for champion Jimmie Johnson , as he earned his record-tying seventh title. But the 2016 chapter didn't close with a "Happily Ever After" for several Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers. Many were left with disappointment, wrecked race cars and thoughts pondering "what if?" That begs the question: Who will best rebound from last season in 2017? NASCAR.com's Jessica Ruffin and Kathy Sheldon weigh the best options. Ruffin: Certainly several drivers could be due for a rebound season -- Martin Truex Jr. won two of the three opening Chase races, only to have an engine failure take him out of Chase contention at Talladega. Carl Edwards seemed primed for his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series title at Homestead until he wrecked into Joey Logano and headed for the garage instead of Victory Lane. Even Kasey Kahne seems due for a rebound, as he's gone two straight seasons without a win. However, I think the most likely candidate drives the No. 2 Team Penske Ford. Brad Keselowski appeared to be a title front-runner in the races leading up to and at the beginning of the Chase, as he earned seven straight top-10 finishes from Michigan in August to the October race at Charlotte. A crash at Kansas put him in a must-win scenario at Talladega, a race he was leading until his engine expired. This marks the second consecutive year that Keselowski has missed the final round of the Chase after making it all the way to the Round of 8. All of NASCAR knows that Keselowski has a fire and a drive to succeed -- and he'll be looking to redeem himself next season, starting with the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway , a track where Keselowski and teammate Logano have won two of the last four events. Sheldon: I'd add Aric Almirola to the list of drivers who looked set up to win in 2016 only to have the season slip away. As the sole focus of Richard Petty Motorsports in 2017, the No. 43 should be on the upswing again. But while many drivers seemed to suffer from seriously bad luck last season, serious injury was the culprit for Dale Earnhardt Jr ., whom I believe is perfectly poised for a huge 2017. Keselowski is due for a big bounce, I agree, but Junior is positioned well for his best run since 2013, when he finished fifth in the final standings. Before a concussion and lingering symptoms knocked Earnhardt out of the No. 88 for the final 18 races of 2016, he had five top-five finishes, four of which were runnner-up showings (Atlanta, Texas, Bristol and Pocono.) Johnson's turnaround from a midseason slump to championship run, paired with Alex Bowman 's power performance at Phoenix and solid stretch through 2016's final three races, indicate Hendrick Motorsports is back in top form. And while Hendrick was proving its mettle amid adversity, Earnhardt worked through a challenging injury with persistence and patience -- a strengthening of his steel, if you will. Add to that Junior's personal life being on point with his New Year's Eve nuptials with Amy. A happy, hungry Junior in top-quality equipment will be tough to beat.
Parks set the standard during NASCAR's early era
RELATED: Learn more about the Class of 2017 MORE: Photos from Voting Day DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- As one of early stock car racing's most successful car owners, it is appropriate that Raymond Parks captured the first two championships offered by the fledgling National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, an organization Parks helped form in 1947. Parks and his driver, Red Byron, won NASCAR's modified title in 1948. The pair, along with mechanic Red Vogt, became the sanctioning body's 1949 Strictly Stock champions -- the initial season of what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The Dawson County, Georgia, native and his racing team were gone from NASCAR after 1955, winning just twice. But Parks, who died in 2010 at the age of 96, was seen as one of the sport's seminal figures and a visionary. "He set the standard. Mr. Parks brought the sport class," said NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty in a speedwaymedia.com interview shortly after Parks' death. "It took people like Mr. Parks to lay the foundation we're living off of. "And without him, we wouldn't have the history we have and we wouldn't be where we are today." Parks' contributions will be celebrated Jan. 20 in Charlotte, North Carolina, when he will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN). His fellow inductees among the Hall's Class of 2017 are Richard Childress, Rick Hendrick, Mark Martin and Benny Parsons. Parks was born in the north Georgia mountains in 1914, the eldest of his father's 16 children. By age 14, Parks had run away from home, landing in Atlanta where he worked at a still and later went into business for himself, bringing liquor from Dawsonville to Atlanta restaurants. He later branched out into legitimate enterprises supplying businesses with vending machines and jukeboxes. "He always kept his dignity and his kindness, always behaved more like one of Atlanta's most sophisticated businessmen, always was dapper in his finest hats and tailored suits," wrote Ed Hinton for ESPN.com in June 2010, shortly after Parks' passing. In the 1930s, Parks added stock car racing to his resume, fielding some of the region's fastest cars with a driver's roster that included Byron, Lloyd Seay, Roy Hall, Bob and Fonty Flock and NASCAR Hall of Famer Curtis Turner. He was instantly visible at the track, always dressed in wool suit, tie and fedora hat. A famous photograph shows Park changing tires on one of his cars during the inaugural Southern 500 at Darlington, South Carolina, still wearing his white shirt and tie. Parks served with the U.S. Army's 99th Infantry Division during World War II, fighting in the 1944-45 Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. Returning home, Parks resumed racing, frequently fielding two and three cars. His team won all five Daytona Beach beach-road course races in 1945 and 1946. "He came back with a vengeance, more determined to do and accomplish things he felt like he already should have done," said Ray Fox, a master mechanic, engine builder and NASCAR official. Parks was among some three dozen racing figures who gathered in December 1947 at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach to create NASCAR, under direction of fellow driver and race promoter William "Big Bill" France. Like France, Parks believed that a rough and tumble, frequently disorganized activity could become a nationally recognized sport like baseball or football. Parks financially supported the organization during its early years and boosted NASCAR's image apart from jalopy racing. "He kept his cars clean and neat like they do today," said NASCAR Hall of Famer Glen Wood in 2010. "The rest of us just kind of beat them out if they got banged up. He would have still been around today if he had kept on until the factories got into it. "He opened a lot of doors and windows to how to do things and taught a lot of racers how to do it better." Fellow NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee Junior Johnson concurred. "Anywhere he showed up, he had the best cars," said Johnson in the ESPN.com obituary. "He's been an asset (to the sport) all his life to it." Parks left NASCAR to become a successful developer and owner of service stations and convenience stores. Parks was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2009. He also was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;