With all that is uncertain for Richard Petty Motorsports in 2018, there is at least one thing we know for sure. Officials from Richard Petty Motorsports said they have no plans to merge with another team according to NBCSports.
They are open to a partnership with another team, like its 2017 partnership with Roush Fenway Racing, but will remain an independent team regardless of what else happens.
As it stands, RPM Motors has no sponsor for next year, doesn’t know how many cars it will field, and doesn’t know what car it will driver,or where those cars will be built.
That’s a lot of uncertainty.
RPM is now looking for a new home. It 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.”
What RPM will do and where it will relocate is an open question.
RPM is in danger of either losing its primary sponsor, Smithfield, or having that sponsorship money cut back. That decision, of course, impacts everything RPM can do.
The Smithfield negotiations directly impact whether 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.
RPM wants both Almirola and Wallace next season, but may not have enough sponsorship to cover both. If that’s the case, and RPM can only afford one driver, Almirola looks like he’ll be looking for a new ride.
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.
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.