Richard Petty said on Wednesday that negotiations between Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing are ongoing, but nothing has apparently been signed yet. Petty seemed be confident that a deal would be worked out eventually between the two teams, reports Bob Pockrass with Scene Daily.
This is certainly a critical time for the team that was started by Ray Evernham and is now partly owned by and bearing the name of the "King", Richard Petty.
Essentially, the old Petty Enterprises ceased to exist last year when Richard joined George Gillet in an endeavor to keep the Petty name at the race track. In the process, the King's son Kyle got shuffled out of the deal and now has no association with his father's company.
Many people may consider Kyle Petty retired as a driver, but I have followed Kyle on Twitter for some time now, and he has made it very plain that he does not consider his driving days over, and would very much like to put on a driving suit and a helmet and strap himself into a race car again. It may be argued that Kyle Petty's most competitive days as a driver are behind him, but in all fairness, it's been quite a few years since he's driven anything resembling top notch equipment.
RPM's lone driver in the 2009 Chase is Kasey Kahne, who finds himself in 12 place with 8 races to go. Kasey suffered a blown engine early in the first Chase race at New Hampshire, but finished a very respectable 8th at Dover last week. Kahne, with 2 wins in 2009, has given Richard Petty his first wins as an owner in quite a few years.
The benefits of RPM and Yates Racing merging are many, with Dodge having had to reduce its support of racing teams because of the company's recent economic woes. Ford support, along with Roush-Yates engines provide at least some potential for making the RPM cars more competitive than most have been lately. Hopefully with more competitive equipment, the team will be able to attract more sponsorship for 2010 and beyond.
Probably the most unfortunate aspect of the RPM-Yates deal is the dissolution of RPM's current engine shop, which means as many as 60 or more employees will be out of work soon. Hopefully, most of these people can find work in other engine departments at other teams, but as we all know, times are tough right now, so all I can do is wish these people best of luck in their future endeavors.
Hopefully, the RPM-Yates deal will work out, and the Petty name will continue to be an important one in NASCAR circles. As they say, though, we shall see what we shall see.