Tag:Richard Petty Motorsports
Posted on: January 22, 2012 11:50 am
Edited on: January 23, 2012 8:31 am

Robbie Loomis leaves Petty organization

By Pete Pistone

Roobie Loomis has left Richard Petty Motorsports as Chief Operating Officer

"I'm taking some time off," Loomis said to Fox Sports.com. "My contract was up in December and I'm looking to explore what's next. Richard is still family -- so is everyone else at Richard Petty Motorsports. The future is exciting because it's unknown but there's still a lot of uncertainty in what the future brings."

Loomis was a former crew chief for Richard Petty, first joining the organization in 1991 before moving into manegement positions to with the race team.

The Petty operation will enter the 2012 Sprint Cup Series season with drivers Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 4:39 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 5:17 pm

Petty says sponsor didn't want Kurt Busch

By Pete Pistone

Richard Petty Motorsports was interested in the possibility of adding Kurt Busch to its stable to take the reigns of the No. 43 Ford as a replacement for A.J. Allmendinger.

But ultimately it was the team's sponsor who nixed the deal.

Team owner Richard Petty said Smithfield Foods, who signed on to back new driver Aric Almirola for fifteen races this season, wasn't interested in associating the company with Busch at the time.

"Nobody at that time, [they] didn’t want to pay the bill for him,” Petty said. “That’s just how simple it was. Everybody has got to protect their brand. Smithfield has a pretty good, laid-back, down-home persona with the general public. Taking him on, it could change.

“They just didn’t like the personality. … About everybody we talked to, they said, ‘Maybe in six months or a year.’”

Smithfield, who will co-sponsor the iconic 43 with the Air Force this coming season, did like Almirola and was pleased the former Nationwide and truck series driver wound up in the seat.

Almirola's stint for the team in 2010 when he finished the year for Kasey Kahne left a lasting impression on the Petty organization.

“Everybody was impressed with what he did, how he’d done it, how he got along with the crew and how he communicated back to let them know what’s going on with the car,” Petty said.

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Posted on: January 12, 2012 2:51 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 5:18 pm

Petty signs Smithfield Foods for No. 43 Ford

Posted by Pete Pistone

From News Release

Daytona Beach, Fla. (January 12, 2012) – Smithfield Foods, Inc. (NYSE:SFD) and Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) announced today that the consumer packaged foods company headquartered in Smithfield, Virginia has entered into a multiyear, integrated partnership with the legendary Richard Petty Motorsports NASCAR team starting in 2012. 

As part of its agreement with Richard Petty Motorsports, Smithfield will be utilizing a number of its core brands as well as unique and engaging promotional initiatives throughout this racing season to communicate with existing customers and introduce others to the company’s many fine products. In addition, NASCAR fans will see a variety of Smithfield brands adorning the legendary No. 43 Ford Fusion as primary sponsor in fifteen NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events in 2012, including the first event of the season, February’s Daytona 500. Smithfield brands include Farmland<sup>®</sup>, Eckrich<sup>®</sup> and Curly’s<sup>®</sup>, among others, as well as Helping Hungry Homes™, one of Smithfield’s premier community-outreach brands. 

Smithfield<sup>®</sup> and Helping Hungry Homes™ will be Smithfield’s featured brands for the Daytona 500. Helping Hungry Homes™ is Smithfield’s initiative focused on alleviating hunger across America. The initiative provided more than eight million servings of protein last year through food banks, school nutrition programs, disaster relief, and community outreach programs. “Making a positive impact on our communities is one of our core values at Smithfield,” said C. Larry Pope, Smithfield’s president and chief executive officer. 

For Smithfield Foods, partnering now with the Petty organization is a natural fit. “We had been in discussions internally about entering NASCAR with the Petty’s as so many of our customers are true blue fans of the sport and of the Petty’s,” stated Mr. Pope. “However, with the recent events that have affected the Petty organization, we felt it was only right to step up our efforts now to support them, as well as dedicate time and resources to bring some exciting initiatives with our brands to NASCAR fans,” said Pope. “In the coming months, we will be announcing plans and programs both on and off the track to reach and engage our customers and local communities that are so important to us,” added Pope.

“This partnership with Smithfield Foods is part of the beginning of a new chapter for the No. 43 team,” commented Petty. “We appreciate that they saw something special in the Petty family and in Richard Petty Motorsports as a whole and made the decision to take the partnership to a higher level right out of the box. The folks at Smithfield have a solid plan in place to utilize their sponsorship in some very exciting ways and we’re looking forward to working with them in 2012 and beyond.”

Aric Almirola was recently named as the driver of the famed No. 43 Ford and will make his debut in the Richard Petty Motorsports owned entry at Daytona International Speedway.

“I’m looking forward to representing the Smithfield brands,” said Almirola. “They have some great things planned and I am happy to be a part of it.”

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Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:10 am

Petty signs Aric Almirola for No. 43 ride

Posted by Pete Pistone

From News Release

CONCORD, N.C. (Jan. 4, 2012) – Richard Petty Motorsports announced today that Aric Almirola will drive the legendary No. 43 Ford Fusion in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition beginning in 2012. 

Almirola has made 35 starts in the Sprint Cup Series, his most recent stint coming in 2010 when he finished the last five races of the season in the No. 9 Ford. During the final race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the Tampa, Fla., native posted a career-high, fourth-place effort. Almirola drove a JR Motorsports entry in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2011 and capped off a successful season with a fourth-place finish in the championship point standings. 

“One of the things I am most excited about is to have the chance to drive a car as iconic as the No. 43,” stated Almirola. “There is so much history surrounding that number and to have my name above the door will be really special for me. 

“This is the first real opportunity I’ve had to drive in the Cup Series full time,” continued Almirola. “Last year the No. 43 team had a lot of speed and was competitive on a weekly basis. Greg Erwin is a great crew chief and I’m excited to work with him. Everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports has a lot of enthusiasm and drive and I’m really looking forward to getting to work.” 

Almirola will join a team that is poised to compete for a spot in the 2012 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. Paired with veteran Crew Chief Greg Erwin, Almirola will get behind the wheel for a team that earned one top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 2011 en route to a 15<sup>th</sup>-place finish in the owner point standings.

“We are thrilled to welcome Aric Almirola into the RPM family,” said team Co-owner Richard Petty. “We feel extremely fortunate to have had a number of very talented drivers interested in joining our organization, but ultimately we felt Aric would be the best fit for the team and for our current and potential partners. We have had the chance to watch his progress for the past several years and we had success with him in the past. We are really confident in his potential as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver. We think Aric has all the makings to be the next bright star in our sport.” 

Almirola began his racing career competing in go-karts before joining the open-wheel modified ranks in 2000. He was an original member of the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR)/Reggie White Drive for Diversity program. Almirola made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut in 2005 and began his Nationwide Series career in 2006, driving for JGR. Almirola drove a part-time Cup Series schedule for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in 2008 before heading back to the Truck Series and earning a runner-up finish in the point standings in 2010. Almirola drove full time for JR Motorsports in the Nationwide Series in 2011.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: December 26, 2011 1:21 pm

Team Review/Preview: Richard Petty Motorsports

By Pete Pistone

Image Detail
("The King" was all smiles at the end of the season but Richard Petty Motorsports' future is fuzzy for 2012)


Impressive was the word to describe the 2011 Richard Petty Motorsports effort. 

The very real possibility of the organization being forced to close its doors ended the 2010 campaign as the ill-fated deal with co-owner George Gillett blew up in a financial mess. 

But Petty was able to put together a group of investors including Medallion Financial Group and DGB Investments to keep the team afloat. 

There were tough decisions to be made and RPM was forced to cut back from a four-car operation to running just a pair of teams in 2011. 

But the end result was a tandem of Marcos Ambrose and A.J. Allmendinger that gave the team a victory and brought RPM back to respectability. 

“I’m 73 years old – I’m not ready to start a new life,” Petty said when he took over full control of the team that bears his name at the beginning of the season. “So I will hang on to what we’ve got going. … I live on what I’m doing now from the standpoint that this is what I love to do; this is what I want to do.

“I want to be involved. The more I can be involved, the better I feel. I’ve been doing this since I was 11 years old. This is a lifestyle. And I didn’t want to change my lifestyle, so basically I did everything I could to keep that going.”

Ambrose came over from JTG Daugherty Racing to pilot the No. 9 Ford and rewarded Petty’s decision to add the popular Australian to his stable with a win at Watkins Glen in August.

It was also vindication for Ambrose who gave away a chance to win the previous year at Infineon Raceway when he shut off his engine to save fuel while leading and could not come back up to speed costing him the victory.

“I’ve felt a lot of weight of expectation and pressure to win and sometimes that clouds judgment,” Ambrose said after passing Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski on a green-white-checkered restart. “I know I’ve tripped myself once or twice trying to get to victory lane here in the Cup series.

“It’s not that I was worried, but the word ‘choke’ was starting to creep into the back of my mind.”

The road racing ace added solid runs at several oval track races throughout the season to end up nineteenth in the point standings and score five top five and twelve top ten finishes.

Allmendinger knocked on the door of his first career Sprint Cup Series victory several times and came close to joining his teammate Ambrose in victory lane.

He wasn’t able to accomplish that goal but was still impressive in his own right finishing fifteenth in the standings and chalking up ten top tens along the way.

“I feel like at a lot of race tracks we’re pretty solid. I just want to be consistent,” Allmendinger said in review of his year. “Our biggest problem is that the race tracks we’ve been bad at we’ve been really bad at. I just think we need to get more consistent overall.

“If we can go into the offseason and figure out where we need to work on – the flatter race tracks, the mile-and-a-halves, Kentucky, Chicago, Kansas, California – if we can get better at those tracks, I think we can be a legitimate top ten team and then from there it’s just about slowly getting better after that.”

However things changed dramatically from that view only weeks into the offseason.


RPM’s plans for the 2012 season are very much up in the air.

Best Buy took its sponsorship to Roush Fenway Racing and in the aftermath Allmendinger was released to take the ride at Penske Pacing’s Shell/Pennzoil Dodge.

While Ambrose is under contract to return in a Stanley Tools fully sponsored No. 9 entry, RPM needs to find a replacement sponsor in order to field the iconic No. 43.

“Our plan remains to run a two-car team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012, and we are continuing down that path,” chief executive officer Brian Moffitt said. “We believe there are several very talented drivers who are still available and would embrace the opportunity to get behind the wheel of the legendary No. 43 Ford Fusion. We continue to move forward and are optimistic about the future of this race team.”

The team is reportedly in talks to sign David Ragan, who was squeezed out of Roush when UPS scaled its sponsorship back and lost out on the Penske ride. However unless RPM can bring in corporate backing, it’s unclear whether the organization can field a second car out of its own pocket.


Twelve months later Richard Petty Motorsports is right back in the middle of uncertainty. After coming from the brink of extinction last year at this time, the team now faces the daunting task of finding millions of dollars in sponsorship just weeks away from the start of a new season. While RPM remaining in the Ford camp to continue its alliance with Roush assures the team will again have competitive equipment, it’s difficult to gauge the 2012 performance until more questions about the organization’s future are answered.

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Posted on: December 20, 2011 11:16 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 12:09 pm

Best Buy sponsorship to Roush Fenway Racing

By Pete Pistone

Roush Fenway Racing has landed Best Buy as a 2012 Sprint Cup Series sponsor in what will be a blow to Richard Petty Motorsports where the electronics retailer backed the No. 43 Ford last season.

Best Buy will serve as primary sponsor of Carl Edwards' No. 99 Ford for two races and the No. 17 Ford of Matt Kenseth for nine races. In addition, Best Buy will serve as associate sponsor for each.

"Best Buy is thrilled to announce this new NASCAR sponsorship deal with Roush Fenway Racing," said Drew Panayiotou, senior vice president of marketing for Best Buy. "Roush Fenway Racing is a great fit for Best Buy Racing. NASCAR continues to be a relevant way for us to connect with our customers. Our goal is to reach our target audiences in a meaningful way, while maximizing the value of our marketing and sponsorship investments."

Roush had been searching for a sponsor to fill out Kenseth's schedule and was pleased with finding funding from Best Buy for at least a partial program. 

"We are extremely pleased to announce this partnership with Best Buy," said Roush Fenway co-owner Jack Roush. "Best Buy is an industry leader and a top brand globally. They do a great deal to market and support their teams and we are pleased to be working with an organization that is as enthusiastic about racing as Best Buy. We feel it is a great fit with our organization and we look forward to a great partnership together."

The move currently leaves RPM without a sponsor for its iconic No. 43 ride and driver A.J. Allmendinger. The former open wheel star is now in the mix as a potential candidate for the vacant Penske Racing No. 22 entry if RPM decides to release him.

RPM did release a statement on Tuesday expressing intent to remain a two-car team

We have had a successful and rewarding relationship with Best Buy for the past few years and appreciate all they have done for us,” stated Richard Petty, co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports. “Although it is very disappointing that Best Buy is changing directions at this late date, we wish all of our friends there the best in their future endeavors.

“Our plan has always been to run a two-car team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2012 and we are continuing down that path,” said Richard Petty. “We have several partners that remain committed to the No. 43 team. We will move forward and explore all of our options in regard to the No. 43 program in the coming weeks.”

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 3:44 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 5:38 pm

Report: Petty team considering Kurt Busch

By Pete Pistone

UPDATED - 12/13/2011

Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's
 "Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody" has learned that in an effort to retain sponsor Best Buy, Richard Petty Motorsports has proposed replacing AJ Allmendinger as driver of the legendary #43 Ford with Kurt Busch.

RPM struggled to re-sign Best Buy a year ago, negotiating until early January before inking a one-year contract. The electronics retailer served as major sponsor of the #43 team in 26 events this season.

Richard Petty Motorsports Chief Operating Officer Robbie Loomis confirmed today that discussions regarding Busch have been held, saying, "Best Buy has been a great partner for a long time, and AJ Allmendinger has done a fantastic job for us. He's coming off his best season yet, but I can tell you there is a lot of interest on our part in having Kurt Busch in the fold. It makes sense to have Kurt with our team, if we can make it work.

"Our main focus is to continue building on what we finished the season with last year," said Loomis. "But right now, I feel like I'm running down two different sets of train tracks. From a personal standpoint, nothing has excited me more than when I heard Kurt had become available. I'm excited about the opportunity to add a driver like Kurt Busch to Richard Petty Motorsports. I would mortgage my house to make Kurt a part of this team. We value what he has done on the race track. He has won a (Sprint Cup) championship and worked for a first-class operation like Penske Racing. Guys like that don't come along every day." 

RPM did not release an official statement on the speculation that either Allmendinger had been released or if Best Buy was ready to remain with the team for 2012. The possibility of adding Busch as a third entry has also been discussed but contingent on finding additional sponsorship.

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Posted on: November 29, 2010 11:14 am

Petty back in control of race team

It was announced Monday that the assets of Richard Petty Motorsports have been sold from George Gillett Jr. to an investment group that consists of Richard Petty, Medallion Financial Corp., and DGP Investments.

Medallion Financial is a publicly traded investment company that has Hank Aaron among its key board members.

DGB Investments is a company owned by Douglas Bergeron, the CEO of VeriFone Systems, Inc.

Petty will be the chairman of the new ownership group and participate in day-to-day operations of the team. Under Gillett, Petty had been relegated to a figurehead role more than anything.

The organization will run two full-time teams in 2011 -- the No. 43 with AJ Allmendinger and the No. 9 with Marcos Ambrose .

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com