Gillett Discusses His, Petty Motorsports’ Future
By Jeff Hood | Senior Writer
Kansas City, Kan. – George Gillett Jr., co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, met with the media Saturday morning at Kansas Speedway to clear the air on several issues regarding his organization.
Gillett confirmed that the proposed merger between Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing will likely occur.
He also said a trip to the Middle East earlier this week resulted in a letter of understanding between himself and a potential investor who has expressed interest in purchasing a minority stake in Richard Petty Motorsports.
“The Yates transaction is on track,” said Gillett, whose RPM organization fields cars for A.J. Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson in the Sprint Cup Series. “We’re going now from letter of intent to a full contract.”
If the RPM/Yates merger comes to fruition, the organization will compete with Ford engines.
Gillett said one or more of his current Cup teams could switch from Dodge to Ford later this season if they can sort out a cooling issue with Ford’s new engine.
If the proposed merger collapses, Gillett said his organization will still likely move to Ford in 2010.
“If we could figure out a way to run (Ford engines) for a race or two before the end of the year (we will). If not, we’d certainly like to figure out a way to test it,” he said.
Gillett said it’s still unknown where the new team would be located.
“I think the current powers that be are leaning toward the current Yates site,” Gillett said. “And we will have for sure three teams, and hopefully four.”
Gillett said it’s too soon to know which drivers will be included in next year’s lineup.
He did confirm that Richard Petty is expected to maintain a leadership-type role.
“This man will always be the leader,” Gillett said of NASCAR’s all-time race winner in the Cup Series. “His reputation, his energy, his passion, his interest, that is the culture of our organization.
“And in terms of who will manage the business on a day-to-day basis, in all likelihood it will be Robbie Loomis.”
Gillett, who entered NASCAR two years ago when he purchased Evernham Motorsports, claims he plans to be in the sport for years to come.
“Do we plan on being in NASCAR? Heck yes,” he said.
“Do we intend to be partners with Richard Petty? You bet. Do we intend to be, not only in the winner’s circle, but in the Chase and hopefully winning a championship or two in the next few years? Absolutely.
“Do we intend on doing it with the people that are currently with us (such as) Kasey, A.J. and so forth? The answer is yes.
“With regards to things beyond that, I frankly don’t know. We work on a three-year planning cycle. We have a three-year plan.”
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