MEN Richard Petty Motorsports runs just two cars, and its Fords can’t regularly match Jack Roush’s. But at least in 2011 there’s real hope.
Words Tom Jensen
Portraits Brian Czobat/LAT
AJ Allmendinger was seething after he got out of the seat of the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
following his 13th-place finish at Michigan
International Speedway in June.
“We have to get better,” said the
former open-wheel star who’s slowly but
surely become a solid stock car driver.
Furious that he ran up front for most
of the race but was unable to translate
the speed in his car into a victory or even
a top-five finish, Allmendinger was clear
RPM still has a way to go before it is a
serious contender week in and week out.
“We aren’t a Chase team right now,”
said Allmendinger flatly. “Obviously you
Ambrose ( 9), Allmendinger ( 43) and Richard
Petty (RIGHT) help form a harmonious team.
want to score every point you can but we
need to be better before we worry about
making the Chase. Today was a big step.
We were never really good here and we
were a top-five car all day. So 13th sucks
in the end compared to what we had, but
I am proud of what we did today instead
of the points.”
That Allmendinger could be
complaining about a top- 15 finish is
nothing short of remarkable, given the
incessant drama and turmoil RPM has
endured in the last four years, a saga as
strange and convoluted as any in NASCAR.
It all began back in 2007, when Ray
Evernham, the brilliant crew chief and
architect of Dodge’s Phoenix-like
ascension back into the Sprint Cup ranks,
sold Evernham Motorsports for an
estimated $120 million to entrepreneur
George Gillett, then owner of the Montreal
Canadiens National Hockey League team
and the Liverpool soccer club.