Richard Petty Motorsports showed up to Talladega this weekend without a backup car. Meaning if Bubba Wallace got caught up in a practice crash or somehow wrecked in qualifying they’d be on their way back to Welcome, NC Saturday night. This begs the question, how bad are things at Richard Petty Motorsports? And does this even matter?
Everyone knows the team sold their shop in Mooresville and moved to the RCR campus in Welcome, NC this offseason. The switch to Chevy and the departure of Aric Almirola and big money sponsor Smithfield has had a bigger impact than expected.
To not show up with a backup car this weekend is a big deal. Bubba Wallace didn’t know the team didn’t have a backup car until he got to the track on Friday. Everyone at RPM, all 8 of them, when Bubba said that;
So How Bad Are Things?
They’re not great.
RPM formed their alliance with RCR in the offseason to hopefully get a performance upgrade over the Ford program they previously had. You can argue either way for that. What you can’t argue is that this team is facing serious financial hardships. Losing Smithfield was a near $20M a year loss for the team. Unfortunately, we don’t know the financials since NASCAR teams rarely release those unless they come out in a court case. We can go ahead and assume the team is not receiving nearly as much as they did last season.
In Smithfield’s absence, the team has patched together sponsorship from a number of companies. Click n’ Close, STP, The Cosmopolitan Hotel, Food Lion, Meijer, World Wide Technology and Petty’s Garage/Medallion Bank have made up the sponsorship schedule. The issue here is Petty’s Garage and Medallion Bank are owned by the owners of RPM. How long can Richard Petty and team owner Andrew Murstein keep this going out of their own pockets?
Does This Even Matter?
So what the team didn’t bring a backup car. It’s a restrictor plate race with one practice. On top of that, it’s a plate track it’s not like practice even matters you have what you have and even a bad car can run well in the draft.
FURTHERMORE, this is the last plate race for this package (Daytona 500 will still use plates) but the noses, splitters, and spoilers will all be different. What is the point in wasting money on building a second speedway car to just tear it apart for next year?
So no this doesn’t matter.
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