Richard Petty Motorsports
Andrew M. Murstein
|Base||Mooresville, North Carolina|
|Series||Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series|
|Car numbers||09, 6, 7, 9, 10, 19, 41, 43, 44, 45, 46, 48, 79, 82, 91, 98|
|Race drivers||43. Aric Almirola, Regan Smith
|Sponsors||43. Smithfield, STP, Fresh From Florida, Air Force|
|Debut||Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 (Richmond) (as Evernham Motorsports)
2007 Centurion Boats at the Glen (Watkins Glen) (as Gillett Evernham Motorsports)
2009 Daytona 500 (Daytona) (as Richard Petty Motorsports)
2003 Target House 200 (Rockingham) (as Evernham Motorsports)
2009 NAPA Auto Parts 200 (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve) (as Richard Petty Motorsports)
Craftsman Truck Series
2006 GM Flex Fuel 250 (Daytona)
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Craftsman Truck Series
2006 Ford 200 (Homestead)
|Races competed||Total: 1,513
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: 1,252
492 (as Evernham Motorsports)
134 (as Gillett Evernham Motorsports)
626 (as Richard Petty Motorsports)
Xfinity Series: 236
109 (as Evernham Motorsports)
127 (as Richard Petty Motorsports)
Craftsman Truck Series: 25
|Drivers' Championships||Total: 0
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: 0
Xfinity Series: 0
Craftsman Truck Series: 0
|Race victories||Total: 27
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: 20
13 (as Evernham Motorsports)
2 (as Gillett Evernham Motorsports)
5 (as Richard Petty Motorsports)
Xfinity Series: 7
5 (as Evernham Motorsports)
2 (as Richard Petty Motorsports)
Craftsman Truck Series: 0
|Pole positions||Total: 42
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: 36
23 (as Evernham Motorsports)
4 (as Gillett Evernham Motorsports)
9 (as Richard Petty Motorsports)
Xfinity Series: 6
5 (as Evernham Motorsports)
1 (as Richard Petty Motorsports)
Craftsman Truck Series: 0
Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) is an American professional stock car racing team that currently competes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. The team is owned by seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty and New York businessman Andrew M. Murstein. The team was founded as Evernham Motorsports in 2000 by former crew chief Ray Evernham, entering full-time competition as a two-car operation in 2001 and fielding additional full-time entries in alliances with Ultra Motorsports and the Valvoline corporation. The organization was renamed Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2007 after former Montreal Canadiens and Liverpool F.C. owner George Gillett bought a controlling interest from founder Evernham, and took on its current name after merging with Petty's team Petty Enterprises in 2009. Known for its factory backing from Dodge since its inception, the team switched to Ford in late 2009 and merged with Yates Racing for 2010. The team has the odd distinction of being the result of three successful teams (Evernham, Petty, & Yates) merging after falling on hard times.
After funding issues due to the Gillett family's financial woes, in November 2010, an investment group including Andrew M. Murstein and his Medallion Financial Corporation, Douglas G. Bergeron, and Richard Petty himself, signed and closed sale on racing assets of Richard Petty Motorsports. Petty, Murstein, and Medallion Financial are the current owners of the team, while Evernham, Gillett, and Bergeron are no longer involved with the team. Funding issues may persist under the current Murstein-led ownership group. Regulatory filings show that the company does not pay cash interest to creditors, choosing to roll over the interest into the loan balance as it comes due.
The team currently fields the No. 43 Ford Fusion full-time for Aric Almirola and Regan Smith RPM drivers including Almirola, Jeb Burton, and Ryan Truex also run part-time Xfinity schedules in the No. 98 Ford Mustang for Biagi-DenBeste Racing. RPM also has a partnership with Empire Racing, fielding the No. 43 Ford F-150 in the Camping World Truck Series. The cars are known for having a swoosh left on their numbers, started in 2012.
- 1 Team history
- 2 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
- 3 Xfinity Series
- 4 Craftsman Truck Series and ARCA Racing Series
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Evernham Motorsports was founded in the year 2000 by former crew chief Ray Evernham, who won three championships atop the pit box for Jeff Gordon and Hendrick Motorsports. Evernham was named a team manager and owner for Diamler Chrysler's return to NASCAR's top level through their Dodge brand, leading the development of the Intrepid R/T race car that debuted in 2001. The team also operated with direct factory backing and sponsorship from Dodge. The team originally operated out of the former facility of Bill Elliott Racing.
In August 2007, then Montreal Canadiens and Liverpool F.C. owner George N. Gillett, Jr. purchased a majority stake in the race team. The operation was renamed Gillett Evernham Motorsports, with Ray Evernham retaining substantial ownership and the role of CEO. Evernham stated the partnership would allow him to focus on "racing operations and team performance", with the Gillett family handling the business end of the operation. GEM proceeded to hire several financial executives to assist with corporate marketing, including former chairman of LendingTree Tom Reddin to replace Evernham as CEO.
At the beginning of the 2008 season, GEM signed a technical and marketing agreement with independent driver Robby Gordon, with plans to eventually absorb Robby Gordon Motorsports into the GEM stable. Under the terms of the alleged merger, Gordon would sell his one-car-operation to GEM for $23.5 million, then receive a four-year contract worth $12 million to drive for the team. The deal fell through, with GEM suing Gordon for violating the terms of the agreement.
After the 2008 season, turmoil emerged when A. J. Allmendinger and Reed Sorenson were signed to drive for the team, while Elliott Sadler was released from his ride in the 19 car and planned to sue the team to keep his job. In the midst of a struggling economy, in January 2009 GEM merged with fellow Dodge team Petty Enterprises, expanding the team to four cars. The organization was renamed Richard Petty Motorsports in the process. Ray Evernham was not involved in the merger negotiations, and both he and Richard Petty only maintained minority shares in the new team. Near the end of the season, the team announced its departure from the Dodge banner after being its flagship team since 2001. The team switched to Ford and would merge with Yates Racing, owned by Ford head engine builder Doug Yates, which had fielded several successful NASCAR drivers including Davey Allison, Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, and Ricky Rudd.
By 2010, RPM's continued operation was put into question when lead driver Kasey Kahne announced his departure by the end of the season for Red Bull Racing Team. Kahne would be released by the team before the second Martinsville race with five events left in the season, after several mechanical failures. Kahne's decision was in the midst of financial problems for the Gillett family in several of their ventures, which included George Gillett defaulting on a $90 million loan he had used to purchase the team. With lackluster performance and rumors from week-to-week that the team would shut down, the chaos peaked in October when RPM's cars for the second Talladega race were briefly confiscated, and again in November when RPM's four team haulers remained parked at Texas Motor Speedway instead of heading to the next race at Phoenix, in both cases due to payment issues with engine and equipment supplier Roush Fenway Racing. The situation was resolved in November, when Richard Petty partnered with Medallion Financial (headed by lead investor Andrew M. Murstein) and DGB investments (headed by Douglas G. Bergeron) to purchase the team for "less than $50 million." Petty once again was at the helm of a race team, and retained a one-third stake in the company by investing "several million dollars" of his own. Murstein had been seeking a sports investment since 2008 when he formed a special purpose acquisition company together with Hank Aaron, a Medallion board member, and others worth $215 million. The team contracted from four teams to two following 2010. Bergeron's share was bought out by Murstein at the end of 2014.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Car No. 7 history
On November 16, 2001, Ultra Motorsports announced they had entered into a joint venture with Evernham Motorsports where the team would switch to Dodge Intrepids from Ford. Casey Atwood, who had been driving Evernham's No. 19 and needed a ride once Jeremy Mayfield became the team's second driver, would take over the 7 car for the 2002 season. The venture was known as Ultra-Evernham Motorsports, with Ultra owner Jim Smith handling day-to-day operations and Evernham handling technical and competition aspects of the team. Ray Evernham described it as "doing two and a half teams." In January 2002, Sirius Satellite Radio was named as the sponsor for the 7 car. In his sophomore season, Atwood struggled severely, with a 29.4 average finish for the year and a best finish of 11th. The poor performance was attributed to a lack of competitive equipment (with the team using second-hand Evernham machines), and a lack of effort on driver Atwood's part. The partnership was dissolved after Smith decided to remove Atwood from the car with two races left in the season. Ultra Motorsports Truck Series driver Jason Leffler was named the interim driver. Jimmy Spencer would take over the car in 2003 for the once again independent Ultra Motorsports Dodge.
Car No. 19 history
The No. 19 car was Evernham Motorsports' first foray into racing in the Cup series. It debuted in the 2000 Chevrolet Monte Carlo 400 at Richmond International Raceway as the No. 19 Motorola-sponsored Ford with 20-year-old Busch Series driver Casey Atwood as the driver. In that race, the car scored a 19th-place finish. The abbreviated season was capped off by Atwood's tenth-place finish at Homestead that year.
For Evernham's full-time debut in 2001, Atwood was named as the driver of the 19 car, teammate to Bill Elliott in the No. 9. The team was part of Dodge's return into NASCAR, with Dodge Dealers sponsoring the entire season. The year was off to a sluggish start when Atwood failed to qualify at the spring Atlanta race, but picked up steam towards the end of the year, winning the pole at Phoenix International Raceway, and almost winning the Homestead race before relinquishing the lead to teammate Elliott late in the race. Atwood barely missed wrestling the rookie of the year crown away from Kevin Harvick, despite Harvick finishing much higher in the points (ninth) and winning twice.
At the end of the year, though, Evernham made a change. He signed Jeremy Mayfield, who had recorded three wins for Penske Racing but who had been fired in September 2001 and had not run since, to join Elliott and drive the No. 19. As part of the move, Evernham agreed to the aforementioned deal with Ultra Motorsports which gave Atwood a car to drive. Mayfield struggled in his initial year with Evernham, posting just four top tens and finishing 26th in points. He won a pole at Talladega Superspeedway the next year however, and improved to 19th in points. 2004 was even better, winning at Richmond and barely making the cut for the inaugural Chase for the Nextel Cup. He claimed one more win in 2005 and qualified once again for the Chase.
However, after the 2006 Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, where an early-race crash dropped the No. 19 team out of the top-35 in owner points (thus requiring the team to qualify for each race on time), owner Ray Evernham replaced Mayfield with Bill Elliott for the race at Watkins Glen, citing a lack of performance through the 2006 season. However, in affidavits filed in court Mayfield blamed his lack of performance and subsequent termination from the team on Evernham's heavy involvement with development driver Erin Crocker, and the "close personal relationship" that developed between the two. On August 16, Elliott Sadler, after leaving Robert Yates Racing, was officially named the driver of the No. 19 car for the remainder of the 2006 season, as well as being named the driver for the 2007 season. In his first race, Sadler qualified second and finished tenth. This was the No. 19 car's best finish of the 2006 season until Sadler scored a sixth-place finish at New Hampshire several weeks later. Sadler finished 22nd in driver points, while the No. 19 team finished 34th in owner points, guaranteeing it a spot in the first five races of the 2007 season. Sadler would score only two top tens in 2007, finishing 25th in points.
In November 2007, Best Buy was announced as the new sponsor for fifteen races in the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Later Stanley and McDonald's were announced as the two other primary sponsors on the No. 19. In May, Sadler reached a two-year contract extension with the team. However, on December 27, 2008, GEM announced that A. J. Allmendinger, who drove the team's No. 10 car at the end of the season, would be replacing Sadler in the No. 19 for the 2009 season. At the same time the team also announced several of its sponsors were considering leaving the team and that Ray Evernham had cleared his personal belongings out of the team's race shop, but it was not clear whether it was related to the hire. On January 3, 2009, Sadler's attorney announced that he would be seeking a breach of contract lawsuit against GEM for the dismissal. Looking to avoid the lawsuit GEM and Sadler's attorneys reached a settlement six days later that would return Sadler to the No. 19 for 2009 while keeping Allmendinger with the team. Sadler had five top-ten finishes in 2009, and finished twenty-sixth in points. Stanley was the team's sponsor for all 36 races in 2010. Due to a lack of results, Sadler announced his departure from the team in mid-season allowing this team to shut down. The team was considered to return in 2012 after Richard Childress Racing driver Clint Bowyer was offered a contract, but RPM withdrew their offer by September, with Bowyer accepting a 3-year contract with Michael Waltrip Racing to drive the No. 15 5-hour Energy Toyota Camry. Since then, the team has remained inactive. The number 19 would later be reassigned by NASCAR to Humphrey Smith Racing (which used the 19 in the now-Xfinity Series as TriStar Motorsports), and has since moved again to Joe Gibbs Racing.
Car No. 43 history
On August 26, 2008, Gillett Evernham Motorsports announced the signing of Reed Sorenson to a multi-year contract to drive the No. 10 car. On Thursday January 9, it was announced that Richard Petty would sell his team to GEM, moving Sorenson to the No. 43 for the 2009 season in the process. The 43 ran multiple sponsorships from McDonald's, Valvoline, the United States Air Force, Super 8, Reynolds Wrap, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Charter Communications, Auto Value Bumper to Bumper, Liberty Medical, and Siemens, but only had one top-ten finish; a ninth at the rained-shortened Daytona 500. Sorenson was released the end of the season.
The team announced they had moved A. J. Allmendinger over to the No. 43 car for the 2010 season; he finished 19th in the points. In 2011, Allmendinger showed continued improvement, especially when he was paired with former Roush Fenway Racing crew chief Greg Erwin. The team would finish 15th in points, but it was not enough to retain Best Buy as a primary sponsor. As a result, Allmendinger was granted a release from RPM and he soon joined Penske Racing.
To replace Allmendinger, RPM signed Aric Almirola, who had replaced Kasey Kahne in the 9 car at the end of the 2010 season. Almirola earned a Pole start at Charlotte in May, and collected one top 5 and 4 top 10's en route to a 20th-place finish in points. Aric's best run of the year may have been at Kansas in October, where he qualified fifth and lead 69 laps after taking the top spot on lap 6. But on lap 121, Almirola blew a tire, sending his Farmland Ford into the wall. He spun on lap 172 racing for the lead and lost a lap on pit road. After getting his lap back and working his way up to 13th, Almirola hit the wall once again, setting the front of the car ablaze and ending the promising run.
In 2013 Almirola returned to the No. 43; at Martinsville Speedway in October, the team ran the No. 41 to honor Maurice Petty's induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. During the 2013 season from Martinsville to Darlington, Almirola had the most consecutive Top 10s in the 43 car since Bobby Hamilton in 1996. After being fastest in practice in Talladega, his crew chief Todd Parrott was suspended for violating NASCAR's substance abuse policy. Almirola finished a career high 18th in points. For 2014, the team hired Trent Owens, Richard Petty's nephew as crew chief.
In January 2014, RPM announced a three-year contract extension with Almirola after working on one year deals the previous two seasons. This coincided with sponsor Smithfield Foods stepping up to fund 29 races in each the next three seasons with brands Smithfield, Farmland, Eckrich, and Gwaltney. Almirola had a rather slow start to 2014, being involved in a 12 car wreck in the 2014 Daytona 500. At Bristol, Almirola posted his best career finish to date of 3rd, only behind winner Carl Edwards and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
The next week at Auto Club Speedway during the 2014 Auto Club 400, Almirola got involved in an accident with part-time Cup driver Brian Scott. Almirola made a pass on Scott for 4th place. Scott controversially moved into the back of Almirola to wreck himself and Almirola. In a post-race interview, an angry Almirola retorted "The 33 was obviously a dart without feathers and coming across the race track. He ran right into me. Man, he came from all the way at the bottom of the race track and ran into me. He's not even racing this series for points. He's out there having fun because his daddy gets to pay for it and he wrecked us. That's frustrating."
At the 2014 Coke Zero 400, Almirola would earn his first career win in the Sprint Cup Series after avoiding two major wrecks, and leading the field when the race was called off after 112 laps due to rain. His win also marked the first victory by the Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43, the first victory for the No. 43 overall in Cup since Petty Enterprises' win at Martinsville in 1999, and 30 years to the day Richard Petty won his 200th race in a Curb Racing No. 43. On his big victory Almirola said "The good lord was watching out for us today and we were meant to win. It's real special for me to win here. This is not only the 30th anniversary of this team's last win at Daytona, it is my hometown and I remember growing up watching Daytona 500s and Firecracker 400s here. To win is real special." Almirola's win guaranteed him a spot in the newly reformatted Chase for the Sprint Cup. He was eliminated after the Round of 16 due to a crash at Dover.
Longtime teammate Marcos Ambrose left the team in 2015, and he was replaced by Sam Hornish Jr. as the driver of Petty's other entry. Almirola scored a top-five finish at Dover early in the season but then barely missed out on the Chase in points, finishing sixteen points and one position behind the last man in, Clint Bowyer. Almirola finished fourth in the cut race, doing everything he could to make it in. Despite missing the playoffs, Almirola scored another top-five at Dover, a track which the team had traditionally been strong at. He wound up finishing seventeenth in points, top of the non-Chase field.
For the 2016 season Hornish was replaced by Brian Scott, whom Almirola had previously tangled with in his career. Almirola said that he felt "more excited than ever" and was confident that his extended pairing with crew chief Owens would yield good results. However, after a strong 12th place showing in the 2016 Daytona 500, the team went into a slump, highlighted by last-place finishes at Martinsville, Kansas and in the season's final race at Homestead-Miami. Almirola finished the 2016 season with an average finish of just over 23rd and a 26th place points finish. After the 2016 season, RPM announced that they would lease the charter of the 44 team and focus solely on Almirola's effort.
The one-car approach paid immediate dividends as Almirola recorded a top ten finish in the 2017 Daytona 500. However, in the season's eleventh race, the 2017 Go Bowling 400, Almirola lost control of his car in a path of debris left by Joey Logano. Almirola's car plowed into Logano's and the back end of the car left the ground. Almirola was then immediately airlifted to a hospital, where he would later be diagnosed with a shattered T5 vertebrae, for which he would miss eight to twelve races. Regan Smith was named as the replacement for the Monster Energy NASCAR All-Star Race.
Car No. 44 history
The No. 44 debuted as the No. 9 in the 2001 Daytona 500 with Dodge's return to NASCAR. After half a decade as a driver and owner, 1988 Winston Cup Series champion Bill Elliott joined Evernham as a driver and re-assumed the No. 9 that he drove with Melling Racing. Elliott won the pole for the Daytona 500 and finished fifth. He marked the season with his first win in seven years at Homestead-Miami Speedway and finished 15th in points. Elliott would score two wins and finish 13th in points in 2002. He scored his final career win at North Carolina in fall 2003. After a ninth-place finish in the points that season, Elliott announced that due to the pressures of a full Nextel Cup schedule, he would step down from his full-time ride and would race the team's research and development car.
Elliott was replaced by rookie driver Kasey Kahne, a successful open-wheel racer just starting to gain respect in the Busch Series, who left a development contract with Ford to sign with Evernham's Dodge team for the 2004 season. Tommy Baldwin, Jr. would serve as crew chief for the No. 9 team. Kahne was arguably the least accomplished driver in a strong rookie class that included Busch Series winners Brian Vickers (the 2003 Champion), Scott Riggs, Scott Wimmer, and Johnny Sauter as well as Craftsman Truck Series winner Brendan Gaughan. Kahne would have the strongest performance out of all the young drivers, earning three second-place finishes through the first eleven races and five on the season, including two close finishes with Matt Kenseth and Elliott Sadler. Kahne earned four poles and 14 Top 10 finishes to score a 13th-place finish in points, winning the Rookie of the Year honors by over 100 points. In 2005, he won the spring Richmond race, but finished a disappointing 23rd in the final point standings.
Near the end of the 2005 season, Evernham initiated a crew swap between his teams, citing performance issues with both cars. As a result, Kahne received most of what was Mayfield's team from 2005. In 2006, Kahne won six races, including the prestigious Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe's Motor Speedway in May. He also made his first Chase for the Nextel Cup, finishing eighth in the standings at the end of the season. His six wins were a series high in 2006 and he also tied for the most pole awards with Kurt Busch at six. On September 18, 2007, it was announced that Budweiser would sponsor the No. 9 car beginning in 2008, after Dodge Dealers/Mopar/UAW had sponsored the team since 2001. In his first year with the Budweiser sponsorship, Kahne had two wins and finished 14th in points. The next year, Kahne scored his first road course victory at the Toyota/Save Mart 350 and won again at Atlanta on Labor Day, earning him a berth in the Chase. However, early misfortune at Loudon put the No. 9 team out of contention for the championship, finishing 10th in points. 2010 would start the No. 9 team off on a high note by winning the second Gatorade Duel in a photo finish. However, the team was plagued by inconsistency and was knocked out of Chase contention before Richmond. With a lack of results, Kahne departed the team before Martinsville and drove Red Bull Racing's No. 83 Toyota. Kahne was replaced by Aric Almirola for the remaining races, who had a best finish of fourth at Homestead.
Marcos Ambrose took over driving duties at the beginning of the 2011 season with Stanley Black & Decker moving over from the 19 team. Ambrose had a break out year in the No. 9 Ford and drove to his first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victory at Watkins Glen International in August. He finished the season with a then-career-high twelve Top 10's, and a 19th-place points finish. Ambrose returned in 2012, and once again won at Watkins Glen, but only had eight Top 10's. However, he did pick up one spot in points to 18th. He failed to win or finish in the Top 5 in 2013, but finished in the Top 10 on six occasions. He dropped to 22nd in points.
In September 2014, Marcos Ambrose announced he would not return to RPM for 2015, and would depart from NASCAR to return to Australia and the V8 Supercar Series for DJR Team Penske. Later that month, it was announced that primary sponsor Stanley Black & Decker would depart the team for Joe Gibbs Racing. On October 8, 2014, it was announced that Sam Hornish, Jr. would drive the No. 9 car starting in 2015. Twisted Tea returned for four races including the Daytona 500. In late-February, it was announced that Medallion Bank, a subsidiary of team owner Andrew Murstein's Medallion Financial Corporation, would appear as a primary sponsor for select races. Medallion partnered with NASCAR Truck Series sponsor Camping World for the third and fourth races of the season (Las Vegas and Phoenix), and other companies including Mercury Marine and Lyon Financial. Hornish struggled during the year, with only three top tens including a best finish of eighth at Talladega in May to finish 26th in points. At the second to last race of the season at Phoenix, Richard Petty announced Hornish would not return to the team following season's end.
Hornish was replaced by longtime Xfinity Series driver Brian Scott for 2016, with Albertsons and Shore Lodge joining Twisted Tea as primary sponsors. The car was renumbered from 9 to 44, which had been used by Petty Enterprises, and by RPM in 2009.
Car No. 98 history
No. 91 Research & Development Dodge
The 98 car car started as the 91 car in 2002. Three drivers drove the No. 91: Dick Trickle at Talladega Superspeedway (failing to qualify); Hank Parker, Jr. at Rockingham Speedway with sponsorship from USG Corporation; and Casey Atwood at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a sponsorship from Mountain Dew (after being released from the No. 7 car). The car returned in 2003 at Pocono Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with Atwood driving the 91 Mountain Dew Live Wire-sponsored Dodge at Pocono and an unsponsored entry at Indy. In 2004, Bill Elliott relinquished his full-time duties to drive the No. 91 in a part-time deal at Las Vegas, Texas, and Indianapolis. Elliott also ran three races in a No. 98 Dodge under his own Bill Elliott Racing banner, utilizing Evernham equipment and crew members and the owners points of Mach 1 Racing, in part to avoid conflict with sponsor Coca-Cola (Evernham's No. 9 and No. 19 cars were both sponsored by Mountain Dew). He returned to drive the 91 in a part-time deal in 2005 in nine races held at Fontana, Atlanta, Texas, Charlotte, Michigan, Indianapolis, Michigan, Fontana, and Texas. Elliott had sponsorships from UAW, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Stanley Tools, Auto Value / Bumper to Bumper, and Visteon.
No. 10 Valvoline-Evernham Racing Dodge
In 2006, the team became full-time and was renumbered as the No. 10 car, as Scott Riggs and his Valvoline sponsorship moved over from struggling MB2 Motorsports. In addition to sponsoring 22 races in 2006, Valvoline also maintained an ownership stake in the team through Senior Vice President James Rocco (like with MBV), called Valvoline-Evernham Motorsports (also written as Valvoline-Evernham Racing). The team nearly won on several occasions including Charlotte, Talladega, and Texas — where he crashed out in second place with two laps to go. He finished 18th in final standings despite missing the Daytona 500. Going into 2007 with high hopes, Evernham's performance suffered; Riggs failed to qualify for six races and had five DNF's with only one Top 10 finish all season. He was released with two races remaining in favor of former CART driver Patrick Carpentier, who had also replaced him at Watkins Glen.
Carpentier, who was 36 years old at the time, became the full-time driver for 2008, part of a unique rookie class stacked with open wheel veterans all trying to emulate the success found by Juan Pablo Montoya the previous year. This included IndyCar Series Champions Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish, Jr., and CART and Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve, as well as DEI development drivers Regan Smith and Aric Almirola. With Valvoline taking a backseat role in 2008 and Stanley Tools moving to the No. 19 car, GEM signed LifeLock for eight races, an identity security company making a large entrance investment into NASCAR. Charter Communications and Auto Value/Bumper to Bumper also sponsored several races. Carpentier won the pole at Loudon but otherwise struggled, as did his fellow open-wheel counterparts. He had no Top 10s, missed five races — including the Daytona 500 — and was out of the Top 35 in points when he was released after Kansas. Second-year driver A. J. Allmendinger replaced Carpentier, after being released from Red Bull Racing in favor of Scott Speed. In his five races for GEM, Allmendinger was impressive, posting three Top 15's and often outrunning his teammates. Allmendinger was initially rewarded with a full-time ride in the No. 19 car, replacing Elliott Sadler. This was derailed when Sadler intended to sue the team and Allmendiger to keep his job, when Reed Sorenson was signed as a third driver, and when several sponsors threatened to leave the team in response to the recent moves.
No. 44 Richard Petty Motorsports Dodge
The merger between GEM and Petty Enterprises in January 2009 suddenly expanded the team to four rides; the team was renamed to Richard Petty Motorsports and Sadler remained in the 19, while Sorenson moved over to the newly absorbed No. 43 car. Later that month, Allmendinger was signed to drive the newly renumbered No. 44 (used by Kyle Petty and others at Petty Enterprises in the past) in 2009 with an option for a second season. The only starts guaranteed for the team were the Budweiser Shootout and the first eight-point races of 2009, with the possibility of more races if the team could secure sponsorship. The team unveiled a retro Valvoline/Petty Blue paint scheme for the Daytona 500, and opened the year with a third-place finish in the "Great American Race". Later in the season, Allmendinger finished ninth at Martinsville. They secured sponsorship through the Chevy Rock and Roll 400 at Richmond in the fall. RPM announced in April that Allmendinger was being signed to a two-year deal, which would keep him in the No. 44 through the end of the 2010 season and sponsorships from Hunt Brothers Pizza, Super 8, Harrah's Entertainment, and Ford allowed him to complete the season. The 44 would also run Fords in several late season races in preparation for a manufacturer switch the next year. Considering the circumstances the year began on, Allmendinger had a solid season, with one Top 5, six Top 10's, and a 24th-place points finish. He would move over to the 43 the next year.
No. 98 MENARDS Ford
For 2010, due to the buyout of Yates Racing by RPM, Paul Menard replaced Reed Sorenson (driver of the 43 in 2009) and drove the No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion. Menard posted similar stats to Allmendinger the prior year (1 top 5, 6 top 10s, 23rd in points), but left the team along with crew chief Slugger Labbe for 2011, taking the Menards sponsorship with him to Richard Childress Racing, forcing the No. 98 to shut down.
Car No. 09 history
The No. 9 Ultimate Chargers Busch team started as the No. 6 Pepsi-sponsored Dodge Intrepid for Tommy Baldwin Racing. The team made its debut in 2002 at the fall Michigan Busch Series race, where Wally Dallenbach drove the team to a 14th-place finish. Dallenbach finished in the top ten in his other two starts in the car that year, splitting the car with Damon Lusk. Lusk took over on a limited basis for 2003 but did not finish in the top 10.
In 2004, primary sponsor Unilever backed the Hungry Drivers program to allow for young drivers to compete for a full-time seat in NASCAR. Four drivers were chosen to compete for the seat and the chosen drivers were Scott Lynch, Mark McFarland, Tracy Hines, and Paul Wolfe. Each driver was given three races to prove their talent. After scoring 2 top-20 finishes, including a 12th-place effort at New Hampshire, Wolfe was awarded the No. 6 Busch seat for the 2005 season.
In October 2004, Evernham Motorsports acquired Tommy Baldwin Racing, and with it, the Hungry Drivers program. Paul Wolfe started out the 2005 season, but was let go after the first four races due to poor performance. Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield took the brunt of the driving duties of the No. 6 team with Kahne scoring the team's first win at Kansas in October. Other drivers would also share in the driving duties of the car, including Mike Wallace, Tracy Hines, Bill Elliott, Casey Atwood, and also Paul Wolfe for three races. Erin Crocker would also make her Busch Series racing debut with the team at Richmond.
For the 2006 season, a number of changes were made to the team. First, a number switch with Roush Racing gave Evernham the No. 9 to use for his team while the No. 6 went with Mark Martin's Busch team. Also, Unilever's sponsorship of the team was expanded. Now called the Ultimate Chargers team, it would feature Kasey Kahne, Jeremy Mayfield, and Scott Riggs as the main drivers of the car throughout the year. Crocker, who competed under the No. 98 with sponsorship from General Mills, and Boris Said also shared driving duties in the car. Kahne, who drove the majority of races for the team, won twice at Las Vegas in the spring and Fontana in the fall. In 2007, Kahne won the spring race at Charlotte and the fall race at Bristol with sponsorship again from Unilever. Kahne, Elliott Sadler, Scott Riggs, Boris Said, and Chase Miller shared the brunt of the driving duties in the car. Deac McCaskill drove for the team in a single race at O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
In 2008, Unilever, along with additional backing from AutoValue/Bumper-to-Bumper and Ingersoll Rand, continued sponsorship of the team with Kahne, Sadler, Patrick Carpentier, and Chase Miller sharing driving duties in the car through the year. Results were mixed for the Nationwide GEM team. For the first time since the program's inception, the team failed to record a win. The car's best results were two second-place finishes. The first was recorded by Kasey Kahne in the spring race at Bristol while Patrick Carpentier finished 2nd in the race at Montreal.
Later in the year, it was announced that primary sponsor Unilever would move to the No. 5 of JR Motorsports. As a result of the loss of the sponsor, the organization announced that the car would move to a part-time schedule for the 2009 season. With the cutback, the team also let go about 65 employees, some of whom were also from the engine shop.
In 2009, the No. 9 team partnered with Braun Racing and their No. 10 Toyota Camry for several races with Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler. Fritos with the sponsor at Atlanta with Kahne as driver. Bumper to Bumper sponsored Sadler at New Hampshire. McDonald's was the sponsor at Daytona is July and at Bristol in August. In 2011, the team returned in a 1-race deal with Marcos Ambrose behind the wheel for the 2011 NAPA Auto Parts 200 in Montreal-a race Ambrose has dominated over the years but failed to win at. Ambrose made a terrific comeback from an early spin, and won the race.
In 2013, the No. 9 Ford Mustang was driven by Marcos Ambrose in the Nationwide Children's Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio to a seventh-place finish. The 9 was also run at Homestead for the season finale with Corey Lajoie behind the wheel. He was involved in a crash and finished 33rd.
Car No. 43 history
In the 2003 season, the team debuted with Jeremy Mayfield driving the No. 79 Dodge Intrepid, with Mountain Dew sponsoring, at Rockingham. He finished 4th in the only race for the team that year. The team returned for the 2005 season, operating as a 2nd Busch team. Sponsorship for this car came mainly from Trus Joist and Auto Value. Kahne and Mayfield shared the driving duties for the three races the team ran with a best finish of 4th at Richmond in May. Kahne also drove the car to a 12th-place finish at New Hampshire and Mayfield had a best finish of 29th at Charlotte. While the team didn't run in 2006, a couple of the chassis from the No. 79 were run by Erin Crocker in her first couple of races.
Chase Miller drove the car as a second GEM car in select Nationwide Series races in 2008, with sponsorship from Cellco Partnerships (a joint venture of Verizon and Vodafone) on the car. The team was retired once the Braun-Petty deal was announced.
The team was brought back in 2011, RPM provided a car for Marcos Ambrose in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race in Montreal. The No. 9 Ford Mustang was prepared by Roush Fenway Racing. Owen Kelly practiced and qualified the car while Ambrose was in Michigan for the Sprint Cup race. The car qualified 9th. Even with the team starting in the back with the driver change, the team won the race that stopped a string of bad luck for Ambrose at the track.
With Annett moving up to the Cup Series for Tommy Baldwin Racing, RPM hired former Turn One Racing Truck driver Dakoda Armstrong to take over the No. 43, bringing sponsorship from WinField. Armstrong drove for two seasons, then left after 2015 for JGL Racing. In 2016, former BK Racing driver Jeb Burton joined the team, driving the No. 43. In June, the team was suspended after sponsor J. Streicher & Co. defaulted on their agreement with RPM.
Craftsman Truck Series and ARCA Racing Series
In 2005, Erin Crocker made her ARCA Racing Series debut in a No. 98 Dodge at Nashville Superspeedway. Crocker won the pole, and finished 12th after leading 28 laps. Crocker would run six more races with another pole at Kentucky and five top five finishes. Crocker ran seven more ARCA races in 2006, and moved up to NASCAR's Craftsman Truck Series (now Camping World Truck Series) full-time with sponsorship from General Mills brands Cheerios and Betty Crocker. Crocker would score another Kentucky pole and three top tens in ARCA, but the success would not translate in the Truck Series, with a best finish of 16th twice leading to a 25th finish in the championship standings. General Mills would leave at the end of the season, leading the Truck Series team to close. Crocker returned to ARCA for 12 races in 2007, with Mac Tools sponsoring five races. Crocker won the pole at Daytona and her third consecutive Kentucky pole, scoring six top fives and eight total top ten finishes.
In 2016, Richard Petty Motorsports formed an alliance with Empire Racing, owned by John Corr. Empire Racing would field the No. 43 Petty's Garage entry in the Camping World Truck Series for the full season, with a number of young drivers sharing the truck. Austin Hill drove the truck at Daytona to start the year. Further drivers have not been announced.
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