Red Flag: Reactions to Richard Petty Motorsports Moving to Ford
Here is another post from my blog that I wrote earlier this summer the day that Richard Petty Motorsports announced its switch to Ford for 2010.
First of all I have to say Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) has done an unbelievable job keeping this manufacturer switch under wraps in the NASCAR world. Earlier today when the announcement was released stating that RPM would be merging with Yates Racing and running Ford Fusions, even “franchise” driver Kasey Kahne posted on his Twitter and MySpace accounts that the switch surprised him.
There are two points that make me wonder how effective this switch is.
I understood that Ford was only supporting Roush Fenway Racing (RFR) with manufacturer money and had no intention of branching out to other teams. So this leads me to believe that manufacturer money will not be arriving at RPM. Why the company would agree to this deal I am not sure because the fact that Dodge had stopped sending their payments was why RPM was talking to other manufacturers to begin with. To top it all off none of the Ford teams have been spectacular this season, even RFR is struggling. So I really don't think that this move is going to greatly improve RPM's performance on the track. They are a team that as Kasey Kahne said earlier this season jump on to things too late and prevent themselves from being an elite team. I think this is another move in the wrong direction for RPM.
By merging with Yates, RPM is taking on perennial field filler, Paul Menard, and getting rid of Reed Sorenson after only one year. Many people I'm sure will say that it seems like RPM is swapping poor driver for poor driver, but at least Sorenson has his moments where he shows promise. I have never seen any of that from Paul Menard. This move does further support one of my previous blog posts, which also centered on RPM, that NASCAR teams will gladly have a field filler as long as they come with money and will get rid of anyone who isn't a cash cow for the team. Once again marketability and money win out over all else.
My prediction is that RPM will not perform better than it has in the past. Kasey Kahne will still be the team's star while the rest of the drivers fight for top 30 finishes. RPM can boast of having the “Bud Boy”, two field fillers, and a streaky driver who may be going to F1 after 2010. None of this makes me believe that RPM is moving toward elite team status. Sorenson may get the best end of this deal if he can land a half-decent ride. Best of luck to all....you're gonna need it!
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