Richard Petty says he doesn’t think Sam Hornish Jr. will be back with team

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Richard Petty said Saturday that he doesn’t expect Sam Hornish Jr. to be back with Richard Petty Motorsports next year but wouldn’t say who would drive the team’s No. 9 car.

Asked if he thought Hornish would return to the team next year, Petty said: “No, I don’t think so.”

Asked if the team wanted a young driver or a veteran racer in the car next year, Petty said: “We’ve got to look at sponsorship as much as anything else. It’s a combination deal. We can’t just go with the driver and then not have the money. We can’t go with the money and not have a driver.”

The team has made it clear for weeks that sponsorship would be key to determining who would drive the No. 9 car next year.

Petty said the team will not cut back to one car.

“We’re a two-car team,” Petty said.

Hornish joined the team before the season. He’s 25th in the points entering Sunday’s race at Phoenix International Raceway. He has three top-10 finishes this season. His best finish this year is sixth at Talladega in the spring. Hornish has four top-20 finishes in the last 10 races.

RPM Teammate Aric Almirola is 17th in the points in the No. 43 car.