SBD/Issue 192/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Richard Petty Motorsports Committed To Dodge Through '09

RPM Denies Report They Will Put Kahne
In Cars With Toyota Engines By Mid-August
Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) "remains committed to Dodge for the remainder" of the '09 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, despite reports to the contrary, according to David Newton of Sirius XM Radio's "Sirius Speedway" Monday reported that RPM would put driver Kasey Kahne in "cars with Toyota engines by mid-August, the first step in a move to the foreign manufacturer in 2010, and leave the rest of its drivers in Dodges." But RPM officials "denied any such move." Additionally, Toyota Racing Development President & GM Lee White said that he has had "no conversations about an in-season switch." RPM's contract with Dodge expires after this season, and the team recently signed a five-race partnership with Toyota-backed Braun Racing in the Nationwide Series (, 6/23). Meanwhile,'s Terry Blount noted George Gillett is the "man holding the purse strings" at RPM, and his impending sale of the Canadiens "could have an impact on the NASCAR team." Whether the Canadiens sale is "good or bad for RPM is hard to say." If "some of that money is put into the NASCAR team, it's a good thing," but the deal also will "lead some people to wonder whether the Gillett family may be interested in selling its interest in RPM" (, 6/23).

KAHNE & ABLE: Kahne said his victory at Sunday's Toyota/SaveMart 350 "meant a lot" after so many "ups and downs" for RPM. Kahne: "It's a momentum builder, and sometimes you need that kind of stuff to keep growing your company." Kahne added, "I'm happy with Dodge as long as our Dodge engines are getting better and we're making gains with them, and I feel like we have been. I don't know where it will go. I know that Dodge has done a ton for us over the years." ESPN's Newton said of RPM, "Right now, they can go to sponsors and say, 'Look, we're not just an organization out here riding around. We're an organization that can compete for wins.'" ESPN's Dale Jarrett said RPM has "some good sponsorships there with their race cars," and having a driver qualify for the Chase for the Sprint Cup "could help take them to another level." Jarrett: "It could really help them on the momentum side and bring in some more dollars and help them keep the sponsors that are there" ("NASCAR Now," ESPN2, 6/23).

SUPPORT SYSTEM: Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Owner Richard Childress said GM's bankruptcy is "not going to affect our performance." Childress: "We talked about a lot of different things with GM and are very supportive of them on the track and off the track. I just see some great things for General Motors in the future." He added the bankruptcy is "not going to affect our technology." Childress: "We may have to do other things a little differently, but when it comes to our performance and giving our sponsors their return on investment, it's not going to affect any of our sponsors, either." However, when asked if GM made a scheduled June 15 payment to the team, Childress said, "That's personal. I didn't ask you if you got your paycheck this week" (, 6/23).

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