Friday, October 22, 2010

RPM looks to be on life support with possibly no relief in sight



Did Kasey Kahne’s departure from Charlotte Motor Speedway during last Saturday night’s Bank of America 500 signal the beginning of the end for Richard Petty Motorsports? The turmoil the organization is going through at the present time has been brewing for months, but Kahne’s actions on Saturday and then his parting ways with the team—unexpectedly to fans and others outside the RPM situation—on Wednesday night did definitely shed light on RPM’s plight.

Things started to look at least a little negative for Richard Petty Motorsports when three of its four drivers seemed to one by one look to jump ship. Kahne announced that he was leaving the team to ultimately drive for Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, via a one-year stop at Red Bull Racing in 2011. Then Elliott Sadler announced he wouldn’t be returning to RPM next season, even though he didn’t have another ride lined up. Paul Menard followed suit soon after, announcing that he was heading to Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season.

Of course, Sadler didn’t seem to be wanted by the organization, anyway. The team tried to let him go awhile back, but Sadler threatened a lawsuit to stay, since he was still under contract. Now that the contract is running out, Sadler seems more than happy to pack his bags and look for employment elsewhere.

Maybe these three drivers saw the writing on the wall and opted to get out before it was too late. Kahne, whether it was his decision or RPM’s, couldn’t even wait until the end of the season to escape. He’s beginning his stint with Red Bull Racing this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

To read more, visit Auto Racing Daily.

Photo of the No. 9 car by Amanda Vincent

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