Richard Petty Motorsports could be very, very different in 2018.
Already trying to determine whether to switch manufacturers and field one or two cars, RPM is now looking for a new home. It’s decided not to renew the lease on it’s 78,000 square foot facility in Mooresville, NC., according to a report at CatchFence.
“The building is up for lease at the end of the year,” RPM said in a statement to CatchFence.. “RPM chose not to sign the lease for next year. Plans are still undecided for next year for the team, but they do know the building is too big for their needs.”
Undecided is on understatement. Here’s a list of all of the issues RPM faces:
- RPM is in danger of either losing its primary sponsor, Smithfield, or having that sponsorship money cut back
- The Smithfield negotiations directly impact where RPM can field one driver (Bubba Wallace?) or two (Wallace and Aric Amirola).
- There’s also talk that RPM could make a manufacturer switch, from Ford to Chevrolet. Manufacturer changes don’t happen often, although Stewart-Haas Racing went from other way — from Chevy to Ford — this season.
The upheaval is part of the turbulent NASCAR times as team jockey for sponsorship position and figure out who can afford what. In this case, things could be be very different for RPM next season.
There have been whispers in NASCAR circles that Wallace may actually push Almirola out of the No. 43 Ford Fusion altogether is RPM can only afford one driver.
Now, those whispers have gotten stronger, according to a report on ESPN. A source gave the network a non-denial denial when asked whether Wallace could permanently replace Almirola.
The source told ESPN that the rumors are “premature,” but didn’t rule it out.