Although nothing has officially been announced by either team, an event like the Performance Racing Industry show often brings news during the off season for both the NASCAR and NHRA world. Although he may not have intended to ‘spill the beans’ (as they say), Richard Petty confirmed an earlier SportsBusiness Daily report to Kickin’ the Tires reporter Jerry Jordan that Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) will switch from Ford to Chevrolet as well as form an alliance with Richard Childress Racing (RCR) in 2018.
According to Petty, this new alliance will involve moving the team from its current headquarters in Mooresville, NC to the Richard Childress Racing shop in Welcome, NC. Petty wasn’t quick to give up whether his team was just forming an alliance or switching to Chevrolet, but eventually relented and confirmed what most suspected.
“We are switching to something,” said Petty, when pressed on the impending change to Chevrolet. “We will probably be working off him (Childress) much like we did off of Roush with Ford.”
Petty also cleared up rumors that he had sold his prestigious NASCAR charter for the No. 43 car. He said neither of his charters had been sold, but he is leasing out NASCAR’s No. 1 charter to Rick Ware Racing. The team is using the charter tied to the No. 44 car on the No. 43 car in 2018. The explanation, he said, was in line with NASCAR allotted charters for each individual car owner.
Richard Petty Motorsports is in the midst of significant change, as the team announced on Oct. 25 that Darrell Wallace Jr. would drive the No. 43 car next season. Wallace will take over for Aric Almirola, who vacated the seat at the end of the 2017 season to join Stewart-Haas Racing in 2018.
Petty said having a new shop, new driver and new relationships should help Richard Petty Motorsports in 2018, and he is ready to get things going.
“We are just doing a lot of new stuff,” said Petty. “New car, new driver, new place to work on it. What we have been doing in the past has been up and down and up and down, but we never really got settled on what we think we need. So we said, let’s just change everything. So, from that standpoint it is going to be a new RPM operation, so it is going to be interesting from that standpoint, too.”
Neither Richard Childress nor Chevrolet have come forward with any further information on this new alignment at this time. Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for the latest updates in this story as they become available.