Richard Petty Motorsports announced Friday that it will scale back its NASCAR premier series lineup to just one car for 2017.
Aric Almirola will remain in the No. 43 Ford with primary sponsorship from Smithfield Foods, while the No. 44 Ford, which was driven in 2016 by the now-retired Brian Scott, will be put on hiatus for the foreseeable future.
Brian Moffitt, Chief Executive Officer of RPM, issued the following statement:
“At the conclusion of the 2016 season, we evaluated how to best improve our on-track product. We feel that it’s in the best interest of our partners and for Richard Petty Motorsports to focus our resources on the No. 43 Ford Fusion and Aric (Almirola) in 2017.
“A concentrated effort on one team will position us for improvement while giving us adequate time to reestablish our two-car team in 2018. For the interim, we will lease one of our two charters.”
The charter for the No. 44 will be leased for the 2017 season to Go FAS Racing to guarantee driver Matt DiBenedetto a starting spot for all 36 races.