Petty Motorsports Facing Uncertain Future
MARTINSVILLE, Va. — Kasey Kahne met the media for the first time as a Team Red Bull driver on Friday morning, and said that he was eager to begin work on his future.
Richard Petty Motorsports was doing the same thing, but its future seems to be a bit more immediate…and a lot more bleak.
According to ESPN.com, RPM consultant Dale Inman said the team was informed last week that financial problems were on the horizon given the contentious sale of co-owenr George Gillett’s Liverpool soccer organization. The sale was finalized for far less money than was originally projected. The team was already behind in its payments to Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Engines, and the sudden pinch was the trigger.
Upon the announcement of Kahne’s release, which according to Kahne was a mutual decision, speculation started that Roush Fenway was repossessing cars that RPM had ready for Martinsville and Talladega, and that there would be no more forthcoming.
Inman put the kibosh on that speculation.
“We’re going to run in the race Sunday and we’re working real hard to finish out the year with everything we’ve got going,” Inman told ESPN. “There’s a lot of good people working on it. Everybody seems to be cooperating because it’s affecting a lot of people on a lot of sides.
“We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope everything works out good.”
As for Kahne, he was in the car Friday morning for Red Bull, practicing for Sunday’s TUMS 500.
“I’m excited,” he said. “It’s a big change for me. I’ve really been doing the same thing for six and a half years, and to make a change like this — new people, new cars, manufacturer, sponsor — everything is different. I’m looking forward to it.”
Splitting with RPM was not about money, Kahne said. “I’m paid up to date from RPM Motorsports. They’ve met their commitments there and that’s been really good that they have. I thank them for that.
“It was a mutual release, and for me, I think it’s a good thing for both sides. They’re happy about it and we are happy about it.”
Kenny Francis, Kahne’s crew chief at RPM, will move to Red Bull at the end of the season. Until then, Kahne will work with Jimmy Elledge in the No. 83 Toyota.