.@RPMotorsports is closing in on announcing that it will switch OEMs from @FordPerformance to @TeamChevy, and move its headquarters to the grounds of @RCRracing, which RPM will have a new alliance with, per sources.
— Adam Stern (@A_S12) December 7, 2017
Update: RCR’s Mike Dillon said Wednesday night on SiriusXM’s “Dialed In” that RCR would be joining their campus then stopped by saying “I don’t know if that’s been announced yet.”
If Adam Stern says it you can etch it in stone. The most connected man in NASCAR says Richard Petty Motorsports will be switching from Ford to Chevy in 2018. The team will also be moving to the RCR campus in Welcome, NC. For the first time since 1981, a Richard Petty car will part of the bowtie brigade. Petty did win 6 races in a Chevy, that doesn’t matter but some NASCAR media member will make a case for it.
There has been long speculation that the RPM team would be making a switch in OEMs. That speculation ramped up when RPM sold cars to Carl Long after the season. Following a rather unsuccessful tenure with Ford and an alliance with Roush Fenway Racing. That partnership resulted in 3 wins since 2011, while nice it isn’t necessarily indicative of the amount of money being pumped into the team by Smithfield. For comparison Front Row Motorsports with far less money have 2 wins in that time.
Richard Petty Motorsports is going all in with the changes. Unlike Front Row Motorsports rumored “radical changes” RPM is really embracing that phrase. After Aric Almirola and sponsor Smithfield announced they would be going to Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018, RPM hired Xfinity driver Darrell Wallace Jr. A 5-time truck series winner and would have been Xfinity playoff participant if RFR found funding for him.
Darrell Wallace Jr filled in for the injured Almirola in the first half of the 2017 Cup season. A best finish of 11th at Kentucky really perked up Richard Petty’s ears and made him take notice. That 4 race try out paid off and now he gets the shot to showcase his talents full time in 2018.
Will Chevy Help?
Chevy will have the new Camaro (Not Camero contrary to popular NASCAR fan spelling) body in 2018 to combat the perfectly aero designed Toyota Camry. Chevy is looking to copy the downforce success of the Toyota while Ford stands on the sideline with their hands in their pants. Ford will be the weakest body aero wise in 2018, while they may have the strongest motor that won’t mean anything if they don’t have downforce in the turns.
Chevy has more resources than Ford at the moment. RCR is struggling but they did show signs of life last season. Aligning with them technically is the next best move if Hendrick isn’t available and Penske isn’t interested in helping on the Ford side. Look at what Ganassi did in 2017 with Kyle Larson, with the right resources smaller teams can have huge years.
Andy Petree might be on the verge of reviving the #3 and #43 at the same time. Call him the Theo Epstein of NASCAR if he can get that done.
Wallace sounded excited earlier in the season when asked about the possibility of switching manufacturers. He raced a Chevy truck at Michigan for MDM and won the race. Confidence goes a long way in this sport and if he feels Chevy gives him the best chance to win then you have to go with that.
Also, there is an underlying feeling that RPM is switching to Chevy to use them as a placeholder until Dodge returns to the sport and makes them a factory team. Dodge returning feels like a pipe dream, there’s a possibility but it’s a lot like Carlin to IndyCar. We always hear about it but nothing ever comes to fruition.
This is a solid move for RPM. One that will make them more competitive while also keeping their employees gainfully employed. Just a bit further of a drive. Welcome, NC is not exactly in the same neighborhood as Concord.
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