SBD/Issue 51/Finance

RPM Scales Back From Four To Two Cars In Effort To Race In '11

Petty May Shut Down For A
Day To Restructure Finances

Richard Petty Motorsports this morning announced that it has "scaled back its operations from a four-car organization to a two-car operation" as team co-Owner Richard Petty "continues to work with investors to take over the team," according to Bob Pockrass of SCENEDAILY.com. RPM today informed employees of the decision, and that "there were cutbacks" (SCENEDAILY.com, 11/22). Petty on Saturday said that the NASCAR team "will compete" in '11, though he stopped "short of saying he has financial investors to keep his Sprint Cup organization afloat." Petty said, "We're going to make it. That's all I can say now." ESPN.com's David Newton noted Petty's comments come a week after he indicated that RPM "was in limbo for next year." A source said that RPM, "in order to restructure its financial situation, may have to shut its doors for at least a day, release most employees, then re-open." Regardless, "major layoffs will occur as RPM will shrink from four cars to two after this season, with AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose the only drivers under contract." While Petty "would not confirm he has found investors to make it," several sources said that the "pieces appear in place." Petty met with Ford Racing officials for a briefing Saturday, and Ford Racing Communications Dir Kevin Kennedy said, "It was a good meeting. We're confident it will get worked out" (ESPN.com, 11/20).

FREE TO DO WHAT I WANT: Former NASCAR team Owner and current ESPN analyst Ray Evernham said on Saturday that he "no longer is legally bound to the exclusivity deal" at RPM that "kept him from entertaining offers from other organizations." Evernham said that he "will entertain offers of being a consultant, making it clear he does not want to return full-time." He said, "Ray Evernham, for the first time coming into the final race of a NASCAR season, does not have a complete direction for next year. Obviously, I have been buried under a mire of legal paperwork, caught up in something I don't really want to be involved in." Evernham is not sure "whether he'll remain with ESPN in 2011 or be with a race organization, or both." ESPN.com's Newton noted there "has been speculation that he could return to Hendrick Motorsports." Evernham said, "I love my ESPN job and the people I work with. So we're talking about that. We haven't talked about specifics. I haven't made any decisions because I haven't had enough time to talk about it" (ESPN.com, 11/20).

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