NASCAR's competitive universe continues to shrink. And it might be the best thing that's happened to
In what seems to be its umpteenth incarnation in the last 18 months, Richard Petty Motorsports will partner with Yates Racing in 2010. The move, which essentially combines three operations (Petty merged with Gillett Evernham Motorsports on the eve of the 2009 season) will give RPM a four-car team and transfer its manufacturing sponsorship over from Dodge to Ford.
The Petty roster will include, in order of precedence,
But rather than shuffling deck chairs on a sinking ship, this change seems to be another step back towards relevance for the man known as the King. RPM is the most successful team in NASCAR history, with 268 Cup victories, but it's been a long time since it's been very good. Petty took his first step towards changing that two years ago, when he moved his team's headquarters from its traditional home in Level Cross, N.C., to a location outside of Charlotte, where most of NASCAR lives and works.
The merger with Canadian businessman
Combining with Yates, a Roush Fenway satellite, will infuse RPM with more resources, more people and a manufacturer that as recently as last year was in serious contention for a championship.
Times have certainly changed for Petty. His isn't a family business anymore, and while the King may be the public face of his team, nobody thinks he's in the shop calling the shots on how to build his cars anymore. But he is a winner again. And that's good for everybody in the sport.
There's a pretty robust debate going on these days about the best way to commemorate the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Leaving arguments aside, here's one I think we can all get behind: Nationwide driver
The car, which is sponsored by the Samuel Company, a Canada-based metal processing and distribution outfit, was unveiled at Ground Zero back on Aug. 31, in a ceremony attended by Martin, his team and a crew of 9/11 first-responders -- each of whom signed the underside of the hood. Pretty cool.
Thanks for reading Racing Fan. I'll see you all next week in the postseason.