during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Axalta presents the Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway on June 9, 2017 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.

Richard Petty Motorsports hints that a major change could soon take place

It's no secret that Richard Petty Motorsports wants to find a sponsor add Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. to its team in 2018, and pair him with  Aric Almirola.

But over the last week, 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.

RPM is facing a trifecta of huge changes that could change the face of the team. Here they are (and the tweets follow)

  • 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 or two.
  • 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.