Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) "laid off nine employees Monday and reduced salaries throughout the organization, a byproduct of Chrysler's bankruptcy filing," according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. A source indicated that RPM officials "took the measures because of anticipated cutbacks from Dodge." RPM co-Owner Richard Petty yesterday prior to the layoffs "acknowledged a disruption to the race team since Chrysler's April 30 filing." Petty: "Everybody sets up a budget of what to do. All of a sudden, they call up and say, 'We just went bankrupt, guys. We can't pay you. Or we can give you a quarter on the dollar that we owe you.'" He added, "A lot of the operations have cut back on their travel, they've cut back on ... a lot of people that make it work -- not only mechanics, truck drivers, whatever it may be. And then a lot of us have asked our people to take a pay cut." Fryer noted RPM is in the final year of its contract with Dodge, and the team is "widely believed to be trying to negotiate a switch to Toyota in 2010." The financial situation also "could take an immediate toll on competition." RPM has "lagged far behind in development of the new R6P8 engine that Penske Racing, the other Dodge organization, has used all season" (AP, 6/8
). A source "referred to the move as 'a cathartic shake-up' given the overall global economic climate" (FOXSPORTS.com, 6/8
I AM A REAL AMERICAN? NASCAR driver Brian Vickers appeared on Fox Business' "America's Nightly Scoreboard" last night where he participated in a roundtable discussion of the future of the auto industry and what happens if Americans stop buying American-made cars. Vickers: "It depends on how you define American cars. … That line is very blurred these days. I do drive for Toyota. But the Toyota Camry … is the only car in NASCAR that's built in the U.S. So where does that leave us? Five million Camrys have been built in the U.S. and 14 million Toyota vehicles have been built in the U.S. They employ 160,000 workers -- Toyota and the dealers -- in the U.S. and they've invested over $32(B) in the U.S." Vickers added the car companies "have got to market." He said NASCAR is a "very effective marketing tool, as a matter of fact. ... These companies have still got to support marketing activities, whether it's sports or not" ("America's Nightly Scoreboard," Fox Business, 6/8).