Petty Enterprises and Bobby Labonte, driver of PE’s No. 43 have parted ways amidst rumors of PE trying to negotiate a deal to merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports.
PE has not been able to secure sponsorship for the 2009 season for its storied No. 43 entry. While the team has said that if a merger were to fall through, it would still field the No. 43 car, some believe that it would not be likely without the merger.
Labonte, who earlier this year signed a contract extension with the team, has been linked to Ganassi-Earnhardt Racing’s No. 41 entry, the only full time ride with full sponsorship for next season without a driver.
I am, and will always be, very appreciative of what Richard Petty and the Petty family, every employee of Petty Enterprises and members of Boston Ventures did to invest in bettering my career the past three seasons. Moving forward, I’m very anxious to prepare for the 2009 season. I do not currently have a contract with any other team for 2009, but I am ready to explore all opportunities and form the next partnership in my career.