Petty, Childress, Chevy Join Forces

| , RacinToday.com Monday, December 11 2017

Richard Petty Motorsports is entering an alliance with Richard Childress Racing. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Erik J. Perel)

Richard Petty Motorsports’ famed No. 43 will return to the “Bowtie Brigade” beginning with the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season.

RPM and Richard Childress Racing (RCR) have announced a partnership between the two championship-winning organizations.  Longtime General Motors and Chevrolet partner RCR will supply chassis and engineering support to RPM, the organization founded and fronted by NASCAR Hall of Famer “King” Richard Petty.

Scheduled to be driven by Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., RPM’s No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will receive horsepower from ECR Engines, the high-performance engine production, research and development subsidiary of RCR.  With the transition, RPM permanently will move its team headquarters from Mooresville, N.C., to space adjacent to RCR’s campus in Welcome, N.C.  The move will begin immediately and be completed by January.

“We’ve had a tremendous amount of success through our team partnerships over the past several seasons,” said Richard Childress, chairman/CEO of RCR.  “To bring a storied organization like Richard Petty Motorsports on-board as an alliance partner is a win for each of our organizations.”

Wallace will be a Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender when the all-new No. 43 Camaro ZL1 hits the track for the first time in 2018 during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway leading into the 60th running of the season-opening Daytona 500.

RPM’s deal with RCR marks the official end of Petty’s Cup relationship with Ford Motor Co. and Ford Performance. RPM will remain an independent race operation, but the change allows for the team to collaborate with RCR. The move also unites two of the sport’s most iconic teams and cars. RPM’s No. 43 and RCR’s No. 3, driven fulltime by Austin Dillon, now will work together toward winning races and championships.

“This is our next chapter of Petty Racing,” said Petty, co-owner of RPM with entrepreneur Andrew Murstein. “We need to provide Bubba, (crew chief) Drew Blickensderfer and the rest of the team with the tools necessary to be successful on the track, and I feel strongly this is the best move for RPM, our partners and everyone involved with our team.  Chevrolet has been a consistent winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for a long time and we’re proud to be a part of the GM family again.  We feel we can immediately win with Chevrolet and our new alliance with RCR.”

RPM has a long and successful history with General Motors and Chevrolet in NASCAR’s premier series.  Some of the winning moments include:

_  June 1957: Lee Petty’s first win with a General Motors product (Oldsmobile).

_ February 1959: Lee Petty wins the inaugural Daytona 500 (Oldsmobile).

_ 1979 and 1981: Richard Petty wins the Daytona 500 (Oldsmobile/Buick).

_ 1979 and 1980: Richard Petty takes the Chevrolet brand to Victory Lane six times (Martinsville, Michigan, Dover, Rockingham, North Wilkesboro and Nashville Fairgrounds).

_ July 1984: Richard Petty scores his historic 200th Cup win at Daytona (Pontiac).

_ October 1996: Richard Petty records his first win as a sole car-owner with Bobby Hamilton (Pontiac).

In total, Petty teams have scored 31 Cup wins with General Motors and Chevrolet.   

Wallace also has realized key career moments with the manufacturer, including his first NASCAR K&N Pro Series East win as well as his most recent NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory this past year at Michigan International Speedway, his first start in a Chevrolet Silverado.

“I’ve had some great memories with Chevrolet and I’m ready to make a lot more,” Wallace said. “The entire RPM team is ready for 2018, and now we have a big piece of the puzzle put in place.  We’re all eager to start preparing our No. 43 Camaro for 2018, working and creating new ideas with RCR.  This is a new journey and we’re all ready to begin it.”

Championship-winning crew chief Andy Petree has been appointed Richard Childress Racing’s new vice president of competition. In a related move, Dr. Eric Warren has been named chief technology officer, effective immediately. The organizational moves bolster RCR’s competition department with more than 50 years of combined racing experience.

Petree joins RCR on a fulltime basis after being brought in on an advisory role in October to conduct a comprehensive review of the team’s competition area. Warren, who has served in a competition leadership position at RCR since 2012, will oversee RCR’s engineering department and new technology strategy. Warren will report to Petree.

“These organizational moves will strengthen our competition department tremendously,” said Richard Childress, chairman/CEO of RCR. “We felt that Andy did an exceptional job in the past month during his review of our competition area. Bringing him on as a vice president of competition is a valuable addition to our leadership team.

“I’ve known Andy for a long time and we’re thrilled to have him work alongside our team, including Eric in his new role as chief technology officer. This move will allow Eric to use his years of experience and many technical talents to focus on engineering and the application of emerging technologies.”

Petree’s experience in NASCAR runs deep. He has served in numerous roles, including driver, team owner and championship-winning crew chief. He most recently worked as a NASCAR television analyst for FOX Sports.

Warren holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from North Carolina State University and has held numerous roles in stock car racing dating to 1997, including competition director, chief aerodynamicist and technical director. He joined RCR in October 2012 and has been a part of 24 victories and one championship in NASCAR’s top-three touring series. 

Incorporated in 1969 and located in Welcome, N.C., RCR has earned more than 200 victories and 17 championships, including six in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with the legendary Dale Earnhardt. RCR was the first organization to win championships in the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

RCR’s 2018 Cup Series lineup features 2017 Coca-Cola 600 winner Austin Dillon (No. 3 Dow/American Ethanol/AAA Chevrolet Camaro ZL1) along with 2008 Daytona 500 champion and 2013 Brickyard 400 winner Ryan Newman (No. 31 Caterpillar/Grainger/Liberty National Chevy).

The team’s Xfinity Series program includes a multi-driver lineup for the No. 3 Chevrolet Camaro; first-year RCR driver Matt Tifft (No. 2 Chevy Camaro) and second-year Xfinity Series driver Daniel Hemric (No. 21 Camaro).

| , RacinToday.com Monday, December 11 2017
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