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;
Richard Petty Motorsports announces the driver of the 43 for the upcoming Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
One of Richard Petty Motorsports ' two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams will not only have a new driver and crew chief combination for 2016, but it will also feature a change in car number. Officials with the two-team organization announced Monday that it will change its No. 9 team to the No. 44 for the 2016 season. The team features former XFINITY Series driver Brian Scott and crew chief Chris Heroy, both new to the organization. "After the 2015 season, we had an opportunity to make some changes and get the No. 44 back. We felt that it was good timing. We really wanted to get that number back in the Petty family where it really belongs," Richard Petty said Monday. "Brian (Scott) is coming on board, and he really hasn't had a number in the Sprint Cup Series. Everything has just come together to really bring back a Petty tradition. "For us, the numbers are more than just a number, you could say. They really represent our family history, our legacy and everyone who has worked for us or raced for us. We take a lot of pride in that and are glad to have the 44 back home." The RPM lineup also includes driver Aric Almirola in the group's iconic No. 43 Ford. The Petty organization first used the No. 44 in 1954 for a single race with driver Bob Welborn. It wasn't used in a full-time capacity by the organization until '93, following the retirement of seven-time series champion Richard Petty . Petty's No. 43 was renumbered 44 for a single season with driver Rick Wilson behind the wheel. That team returned to its original number, 43, the following year. The last full season a Petty entry featured the No. 44 was 2009 with driver AJ Allmendinger . The group began using the No. 9 as well after merging with Gillett Evernham Motorsports in '09. Entries bearing the No. 44 have won 13 times in NASCAR's premier series, most recently by Terry Labonte (1986) when the NASCAR Hall of Fame driver was competing for car owner Billy Hagan. Cars featuring the No. 9 have won 53 times, including the final four times by RPM drivers Kasey Kahne (2009) and Marcos Ambrose ('11, '12).
The history of Richard Petty Motorsports and full crews for Aric Almirola and Brian Scott.
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 .
Richard Petty Motorsports revealed Tuesday at its shop in Mooresville, North Carolina, that Ford will be its manufacturer for the 2016 season and beyond in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Richard Petty Motorsports has been aligned with Ford since 2010. The team will also continue its relationship with Roush Yates Engines and its services agreement with Roush Fenway Racing . Proud to announce @FordPerformance will continue to be our manufacturer in 2016 and beyond. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/oOZCIgOceI — RPMotorsports (@RPMotorsports) October 6, 2015 "Our relationship with Ford Performance has a history, a present and now a future of winning races and competing for championships," Richard Petty , co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports said in a release provided by the team. "As we took on additional internal responsibilities within our organization over the past 12 months, Dave Pericak and his team at Ford Performance have been with us supporting Richard Petty Motorsports each step of the way. And to know they will continue to be our partner is very important to our combined desire to make RPM a championship caliber organization." Petty and Ford go back quite a ways to the 1969 season, when "The King" scored nine of his 10 wins that year driving a Ford en route to a runner-up finish for the championship. " Richard Petty Motorsports has made steady progress since joining our program, and we're looking forward to seeing them take that next step to being a consistent Chase participant," Dave Pericak, director, Ford Performance said in a release. "We feel they have the people in place to achieve that goal, and we're going to do everything we can to provide them the resources to make that happen." RPM is a two-car race team that includes Aric Almirola driving the No. 43 and Sam Hornish Jr . driving the No. 9. Neither driver qualified for the Chase in 2015, although Almirola advanced to the postseason last year after winning the summer race at Daytona. Almirola ranks 18th in points after 29 Sprint Cup Series races this season and Hornish Jr. stands 27th. RPM also fields an entry for Dakoda Armstrong in the XFINITY Series. The driver of the No. 43 Ford is 14th in the series standings. Together, Ford and RPM have teamed up for three wins in the Sprint Cup Series and two wins in the XFINITY Series.
Officials with Richard Petty Motorsports and transportation services company J.B. Hunt have announced a five-race associate sponsorship agreement that will consist of one NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event this season and four for 2016. The company will serve as an associate on the No. 9 RPM Ford, currently driven by Sam Hornish Jr ., at this year's AAA Texas 500 race weekend (Nov. 6-8) as well as events next season at Atlanta Motor Speedway , Auto Club Speedway , one of two stops at Pocono Raceway and at Chicagoland Speedway . "Nobody does it better than J.B. Hunt and their thousands of employees," team owner Richard Petty said in a statement announcing the agreement. "We're proud to partner with them and I'm excited to be a part of their driver recruitment program. Our country's truck drivers are the backbone of our commerce system and I can't wait to interact with them." J.B. Hunt is based in Lowell, Ark. "There is no bigger brand in NASCAR than Petty ," Craig Harper, Executive Vice President of Operations for J.B. Hunt Transport said. "All of our drivers know that name and can relate to the race team, their goals and the work and dedication that is required to safely transport the team's equipment from race to race each week." RPM fields two entries in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, featuring drivers Hornish and Aric Almirola . Petty is the sport's all-time leader in wins with 200 career victories and is one of only two drivers to capture seven premier series titles. He was one of five inaugural members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame inducted in 2010. Almirola is currently 17th in points, the highest ranked driver not among the 16 competing in this year's Chase for the Sprint Cup . Hornish is 27th in the standings. The Sprint Cup Series travels to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., this weekend for Sunday's Sylvania 300 (2 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR).
Richard Petty Motorsports drivers Aric Almirola and Brian Scott talk about their outlook heading into the 2016 season.
With a new driver in Brian Scott and a new car number in the No. 44, take a quick look at Richard Petty Motorsports heading into the 2016 season.
AVONDALE, Ariz. -- Team co-owner Richard Petty says his Richard Petty Motorsports organization is "still working on what we're going to do with the 9 car," and that he doesn't believe current driver Sam Hornish Jr . will return to the two-car NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team for 2016. "Things are looking up (on the sponsorship front)," Petty said Saturday morning in the garage at Phoenix International Raceway "We've got some stuff coming down the pike, but we don't have it corralled yet." RPM currently fields two Sprint Cup Series entries, the No. 43 Ford driven by Aric Almirola as well as the No. 9 Ford of Hornish. A Chase for the Sprint Cup participant last season, Almirola failed to make this year's 16-team field. He is 17th in points heading into Sunday's Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR). Hornish, a three-time IndyCar champion and winner of the 2006 Indianapolis 500, has been unable to find success in NASCAR's premier series, managing only three top-five finishes in 165 career starts. He is currently 25th in points. He does have three career victories in NASCAR's XFINITY Series. Asked if Hornish would be back, Petty said, "No, I don't think so." Petty , a seven-time series champion as a driver and winner of a series record 200 races, said funding would be a determining factor in driver selection for the No. 9 entry for '16, but that cutting back to only one team was not a consideration for the organization. "No. We're a two-car team," he said. "We have to look at sponsorship as much as anything. It's a combination deal. We can't just go with a driver and not have the money and we can't go with just the money and not have a driver. It’s going to be interesting." Almirola's team carries primary sponsorship from Smithfield Foods with additional funding for select events from Fresh from Florida, the U.S. Air Force and STP. Medallion Bank and Twisted Tea are the primary partners of the No. 9 of Hornish, while several other groups have sponsorship roles for a smaller number of races.