By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
A new technology partner and sponsorship may be the turning point that Richard Petty Motorsports has needed. RPM may have gone through more changes in the past decade than any other team. In its’ current form, the team has been in Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition since 2009. RPM’s roots, however, go back to the very start of NASCAR with Petty Enterprises.
As Petty Enterprises, the team was a powerhouse in its’ heyday. In over 2,800 Premier Series starts, the team earned a staggering 268 victories, many with NASCAR Hall of Famer and Seven-Time Champion Richard Petty. However, its’ last victory came with John Andretti in 1999 at Martinsville Speedway. The next time the Petty name entered victory lane was in 2009 with Kasey Kahne at Sonoma Raceway. By then, the team was operating under the Richard Petty Motorsports banner.
Since 2009, RPM has scored just five victories, two with Kahne, two with Marcos Ambrose, and most recently with Aric Almirola in 2014. In 190 starts since 2015, the team has just 19 top-10 finishes. The last time RPM made the Playoffs was in 2014 with Almirola, he was eliminated in the first round.
When asked if the partnership with World Wide Technology (WWT) could be a turning point for the team, Petty, the co-owner and namesake of the team admitted,
“It’s not going to be an overnight success because these guys have never been in the racing deal, so they don’t know what kind of information we have, and they’re going to have to learn how we take the information, how we gather it. They may have some suggestions for us to gather it better. We don’t know that, so it’s just an open book right now for what they can do for us. Any bit of help is going to be better than what we’re at.”
When asked the same question, RPM CEO Brian Moffitt answered,
“I think absolutely. It’s going to help us analyze the data a lot quicker than what maybe we think we are. They’ve (WWT) already shown that they can do that for us in some of the meetings and some of the discussions that we’ve already had. The more we get in to this, the more its’ going to help us catapult to the next level.
So far in 2018, RPM driver Darrell ‘Bubba’ Wallace, Jr. has already earned one-third of the top-five and top-10 results that Almirola earned for the team last year. Half of Almirola’s six top-10 finishes came 12 races after his return from a brutal crash that left him sidelined for nine weeks. It was during that time that Wallace made his debut for RPM as a substitute driver.