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RPM re-signs Ambrose, Almirola for 2013 season

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) -- Richard Petty Motorsports has re-signed Sprint Cup Series drivers Marcos Ambrose and Aric Almirola for the 2013 season.

Ambrose, who won at Watkins Glen earlier this season, will be teamed with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer. Almirola will be paired with veteran crew chief Todd Parrott.

"We have shuffled our Cup team lineups a few times this season to maximize our results," RPM director of competition Sammy Johns said. "We feel that the chemistry that we are developing now with both teams is very strong. We have seen marked improvement over the past few weeks. ... We feel confident that both teams are capable of competing for wins and making the Chase next season."

It will be Ambrose's third season at RPM. He will again be behind the wheel of the No. 9 Ford. It will be Almirola's second season in the No. 43 Ford.

Both drivers changed crew chiefs twice this season while searching for the right combination.

Ambrose started the year with Parrott, then had former Joe Gibbs Racing crew chief Mike Ford before being paired with Blickensderfer, Jeff Burton's former crew chief, a couple of weeks ago. Ambrose is 18th in the Sprint Cup standings, with three top-five and eight top-10 finishes.

"It's good to come back to Richard Petty Motorsports and focus on our future together," Ambrose said. "We had success this year and recently have made plans to get better for 2013 and beyond. ... I can't think of a better place to be and am ready to win."

Almirola started the year with Greg Erwin and then worked with Ford before switching to Parrott with 10 races left in the season. He has seven top-20 finishes in his last nine races after only 13 in his first 26.

"We went through some changes this season, but since being paired with Todd and this crew, I've had the most fun I've had in a Cup car," Almirola said. "I think we have a lot of things clicking right now and have a lot of momentum heading into 2013. Everyone at RPM seems to have good chemistry right now and that's a good feeling as we all prepare for 2013."

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