Richard Petty Motorsports will conduct its second merger in as many seasons, as RPM will merge with Yates Racings, fielding Fords next season. Initially, rumors suggested the team would move to Toyotas next season, but RPM officials publicly said the team would not switch to Toyota.
It had been speculated for some time that RPM would switch makes, due in part to the financial difficulties of its current make, Dodge.
The newly formed team will run under the current RPM banner with Paul Menard joining RPM, and teammates Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, and AJ Allmendinger. No word on what will become of Reed Sorenson, current driver of RPM’s No. 43 Dodge. Earlier this season, he was rumored to be out at RPM.
For the remainer of this season, Yates Racing will continue to field a Ford for Hall of Fame Racing’s No. 96, driven by Bobby Labonte and Erik Darnell.
Richard Petty said:
Right now this deal is real new. There are lots of details still left to be ironed out so we don’t have a lot of answers for anyone right now. We’ll be working on all that in the coming days, weeks and months, but we do intend to have everything in place before the start of next season.
Max Jones, of Yates Racing, said:
On a personal level, I am excited about the opportunity to focus my full energy on building Ford horsepower. We look forward to working with Richard Petty Motorsports to produce power second to none. There are many details to be worked out with Richard Petty Motorsports and as we finalize those details we will keep everyone informed.
This news appears to all but solidify Jamie McMurray’s departure from Roush Fenway Racing, as many thought he might be headed to Yates Racing, which has an alliance with RFR. At last check, RFR was seeking sponsorship to keep McMurray with Yates. But, this new merger would put Yates at NASCAR’s four-team limit.
McMurray could end up piloting Earnhardt Ganassi Racing’s No. 1 Chevy next season, as that’s one of the few rides available. He’s been connect to this ride, but nothing official has been said.
Also, Salder has been rumored to be headed over to Richard Childress Racing or JTG Racing next season, which could mean that Sorenson sticks with the team and Menard takes Salder’s spot.