Richard Petty Motorsports announced Friday that it will switch to Chevrolet and partner with Richard Childress Racing, moving its shop adjacent to the RCR campus in Welcome, North Carolina. The move will be completed by January.
Richard Petty Motorsports will receive chassis and engineering support from RCR. Also, Richard Petty Motorsports will use ECR Engines.
Richard Petty Motorsports, which will field the No. 43 car for Darrell Wallace Jr., will remain an independent race team.
“This is our next chapter of Petty racing,” said Richard Petty, co-owner, Richard Petty Motorsports, in a statement. “We need to provide Bubba, Drew (Blickensderfer) and the rest of the team with the tools necessary to be successful on the track, and I feel strongly this is the best move for RPM, our partners and everyone involved with our team. Chevrolet has been a consistent winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for a long time and we’re proud to be a part of the GM family again. We feel we can immediately win with Chevrolet and our new alliance with RCR.”
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of success through our team partnerships over the past several seasons”, said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR, in a statement. “To bring a storied organization like Richard Petty Motorsports on-board as an alliance partner is a win for each of our organizations.”
The Petty family’s history with General Motors and Chevrolet includes such moments:
- June 1957: Lee Petty’s first General Motors win (Oldsmobile)
- February 1959: Lee Petty wins inaugural Daytona 500 (Oldsmobile)
- 1979 and 1981: Richard Petty wins the Daytona 500 (Oldsmobile/Buick)
- 1979 and 1980: Richard Petty takes the Chevrolet brand to victory lane six times (Martinsville, Michigan, Dover, Rockingham, North Wilkesboro and Nashville Fairgrounds)
- July 1984: Richard Petty’s 200th win (Pontiac)
- October 1996: Richard Petty’s first win as a sole car owner with Bobby Hamilton (Pontiac)
Richard Petty Motorsports is in the midst of significant change. The team announced Oct. 25 that Darrell Wallace Jr. would drive the No. 43 car next season. He will take over for Aric Almirola, who left after this season to join Stewart-Haas Racing.
RPM stated Aug. 28 that it would vacate the race shop it leased in Mooresville, North Carolina, after the season.
The organization continues to look for sponsorship. Smithfield had been a primary sponsor the past six years. Smithfield will sponsor Almirola at Stewart-Haas Racing next year but also is expected to stay on in some form with RPM, according to a SportsBusiness Daily report in October. Richard Petty Motorsports announced Nov. 3 that Click n’ Close will sponsor the car in at least three races next year, including the Daytona 500. STP announced Nov. 13 that it would sponsor RPM in two races in 2018.
The move of Wallace and Richard Petty Motorsports to Chevrolet means that half of the 14 Chevrolet Cup drivers who have been announced with rides for next season would be age 25 or under to start the season. Wallace is 24 and joins William Byron (age 20), Chase Elliott (22), Alex Bowman (24), Kyle Larson (25), Ty Dillon (25) and Chris Buescher (25) in the Chevrolet roster with such a move.
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