Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) heads to the 58th Annual Daytona 500 with the best foundation in recent years. During the off-season, the team expanded their staff, including multiple engineers and chassis designers, added new partners and a new driver, renewed or expanded business with all of its current partners, returned to its roots with a historic Petty family number and continued to grow their abilities building a race car. This growth puts RPM on their best footing leading into the start of the 2016 season. All this preceded the announcement of the new charter system which positions the team with a much more solid foundation for the future.
RPM Continues Competition Gains in 2016
The team took on the responsibility of building their own bodies last season and showed improvement on the track. Last season, they saw more consistency on track, which was their No. 1 goal. This season, the team looks to continue their improvement and progression to the winning tradition that that Pettys built. Vice President, Competition, Sammy Johns expanded his team of engineers and took on the responsibility of building a chassis program. Johns led the chassis program at Evernham Motorsports during his time there and utilized that knowledge to build a team to start building chassis in house. The team will see the fruits of their labor early on this season with an expected in-house chassis debut early this season.
Late last season, the team extended their partnership with Ford Performance which has already proved beneficial through the championship caliber engineering, technology and resources of Ford Performance. The team also had more wind tunnel time this off-season and will continue throughout the season. The multi-year deal with Ford Performance allowed the team to hire more engineers to work with Ford Performance on the teams progression to competition success.
RPM Shows Business Success with Returned Business and New Partners
In a sport where business relationships are pivotal to being competitive, RPM has shown great success. The team had a successful off-season on the business front in addition to the progression on the competition side. Although still pursuing additional opportunities, the Mooresville, N.C.-based team renewed or expanded all of their current partnerships while adding new partners to their team.
Earlier this year, the team announced new partners Albertsons Companies and Shore Lodge as primary partners with Brian Scott and the No. 44 Ford in a multi-year deal. They also announced expansions with Smithfield and Twisted Tea, and renewals with United States Air Force, STP, GoBowling.com and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' "Fresh From Florida" campaign. All of which build a foundation where RPM can put more into building a competitive team and returning to the Petty winning tradition.
Aric Almirola Building Winning Ways
Last season, Aric Almirola and the No. 43 team showed great progress toward being a consistently competitive race team. Although they fell just short of the Chase last year, the team showed consistency that they lacked in the past. With an intact team and a few additions, the team is ready to get back to racing and looks to contend for wins in 2016. Crew Chief Trent Owens will once again lead the charge with a goal to get the No. 43 Ford back into Victory Lane.
With the improvements behind the scenes, the team feels they are in the best position to continue their consistency but replace those Top-15 finishes with Top-10s and Top-Fives. Looking for an average finish of 15th, the team knows they will be able to contend for wins.
New is the Buzz Word for Brian Scott this Season
Brian Scott and the No. 44 team are ready to make their debut this weekend at the Great American Race and wave the green flag on the road to contending for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year. After joining RPM in December 2015, Scott will compete in the Daytona 500 next weekend in the No. 44 Albertsons Companies/Shore Lodge Ford with a new crew chief, a new racing manufacturer, a new team and a historic number freshly returned to the Sprint Cup Series.
While a lot is new for Scott in the 2016 season, he is a veteran in racing at NASCAR's premier levels with nine years of experience throughout the Camping World Truck Series, XFINITY Series and Sprint Cup Series. To date, he has 17 starts in the Sprint Cup Series, with one pole (Talladega 500 - May 4, 2014). Throughout his XFINITY Series career, he earned 20 Top-Five finishes, 77 Top-10 finishes and five poles in 208 starts. He teams up with Crew Chief Chris Heroy this season, another veteran in the sport, who will work with Scott to compete for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors, in which Heroy won the award in 2014 with Kyle Larson at Chip Ganassi Racing.
Comments from Brian Moffitt, CEO
"2016 is the best off-season I can recall for RPM. We had a strong third and fourth quarter on the business side with expansions, renewals and new partners, which is something we am very proud of. We also expanded our resources on the business side of the organization and feel that will lead to more success. I can't say enough about the effort Sammy Johns and his staff have put forth this off-season. They have grown in all facets from engineering to competition staff to pit crews to chassis and aero staff. Seeing everything that has happened this off-season makes me beyond excited to get to the race track and see the fruits of our labor."