R.P.M. Or R.I.P?

Tony HulfeldCorrespondent IJanuary 23, 2009

Well here we go again...

Once again the merger situation arises yet again.

On January 19th, Gillett Evernham Motorsports, and Petty Enterprises formally announced that the two operations will merge and now be under the banner of Richard Petty Motorsports.

Is this really a good thing?

When you look at the statistics why would team owner George Gillett want to acquirea team that has not won a race since the 1999 season (with a driver whois no longer with the team), and has not among the front-runners for a very long time, and has hardly been competitive in the last few years?

Two words: Richard Petty.

As said in the NASCAR.com article on the merger it is all about the name. Not only did George Gillett want the Petty name, but King Richard made sure it was top priority. Richard had stated that no merger talks would continue unless they met his requirements. Well once again was this a good thing?

From the Petty standpoint it is a blessing. This deal can relieve so ,manyof the struggles that the family owned operstion was facing. With many of the financial situations out of the equation now it would seem that it can only go up from here. And it probably will. But don't forget the failed acquisition of the team from the  firm Boston Ventures that was sure to propel Petty Enterprises back to the front of the pack.

The only effect the purchase had on the team wasKing Richard losing his voice in the team, son Kyle Petty becoming frustrated with the team and eventually leaving the family operation that had been in his family for 60 years, and continuing financial problems for the team.

So according to the statistics, the new R.P.M team merger will work out for Petty, but how will it work for Gillett.

G.E.M. is a lower first tier team, high second tier team at best. They do have the very competitive, and somewhat consistent Kasey Khane, but that's about it. The10 car shared a variety of drivers in the 2008 season, and the 19 has Elliott Sadler, who has competitive runs every once in a while, but is mediocre at best. With the addition of the drivers Reed Sorenson, and A.J. Allmendinger, two drivers who have a lot to prove, is this really going to help Gillett?

Withthe addition of the two cars R.P.M. now has the advantage of being a four car team, but the disadvantage of having two new drivers who will be working with their new teams for which they have no experience, and with testing banned they will have no idea what they have until they get to Daytona.

So from the Petty side it looks like a win-win situation, but from the Gillett side is it a win-win or will there be no wins for the new team?