Richard Petty Motorsports has announced that it will continue to be a two-car team for the 2015 season. That special status was in question with word that veteran driver Marcos Ambrose would not be returning to the NASCAR Sprint Cup series next season. Ambrose has decided to return home to Australia and compete in the Super V8 racing series. He’s driven the No. 9 car for RPM since 2011.
With the departure of Ambrose the question was would RPM continue to field the No. 9 car now that their veteran driver was departing? The answer is now a solid yes! Ambrose has decided to join Team Penske as the organization ventures into the Supercar arena. It’s a move that the driver says brings him back home.
"This is a great opportunity to return home to a place that I love, in a series where I've experienced a lot of success," Ambrose said. "It will be an honor to race for two motorsport legends in Roger Penske and Dick Johnson."
Two Cars – One Driver?
Now there’s a ride open at RPM looking for a new driver. Aric Almirola, in his first Chase for the Sprint Cup appearance, will continue to drive the team’s No. 43 Ford. In addition to the Sprint Cup cars for 2014 the team also fields a NASCAR Nationwide Series ride for Dakoda Armstrong.
With Almirola still behind the wheel of the No. 43 car the door is wide open for a new driver at RPM and the rumor mill has started even though Brian Moffitt, President and CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports, decided to focus on the relationship between the team and sponsors including Ford. He didn’t mention possible drivers for the No. 9 car.
"Today, we are excited to build new partnerships on the No. 9 team," said Moffitt. "We have a vision that our ownership group and sponsors support and believe in. We have built upon that vision in two short years to become championship eligible. It's that belief that will help us support the No. 9 team. One partner that has supported us is Ford Racing who will again be our manufacturer partner as we continue our relationship that has helped us become a 'Chase' organization."
Joe Gibbs racing will now be the home of former RPM sponsors Stanley and DeWalt. The sponsor was a longtime brand associated with Ambrose. With Ambrose heading to Australia the companies moved their loyalties to sponsoring Carl Edwards as he moves to JGR in 2015. JGR has already rolled out paint schemes for Edward’s new No. 19 car and Matt Kenseth’s No. 20 car.
Twisted Tea Brewing Company will continue their part-time primary sponsorship of the No. 9 team in 2015 and Smithfield Foods will continue their sponsorship for Almirola's No. 43 car.