RPM to announce 2011 drivers, sponsors Tuesday

Richard Petty Motorsports has called a Tuesday teleconference to announce the specifics of the organization’s 2010 Sprint Cup Series drivers and sponsor lineups.

The organization announced Aug. 6 that they had re-signed AJ Allmendinger to a multi-year deal to stay with the team. However, two drivers have confirmed that they will be leaving next year and another driver is on the fence.

Kasey Kahne announced earlier in the year that he would part-ways with RPM after this season. He announced last weekend that he would join Red Bull Racing in 2011 before he moved into his multi-year ride with Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.

Kahne’s sponsor Budweiser is also on the move next season, according to sources. Multiple internet reports say Budweiser will head to Kevin Harvick next season, with an announcement of the new sponsorship deal expected to come Tuesday.

Paul Menard also announced last weekend that he would join Richard Childress Racing next year as RCR gives a second attempt at a four car team. Menard will also take his primary sponsorship from his father’s company, Menard’s, with him.

Elliott Sadler was quoted earlier in the year as saying the team did not have him in their plans for the future. However, a team spokesperson has since denied those comments saying Sadler is one of about three drivers the team was looking at for next season.

Sadler said last weekend that he has had little talks with the organization and that he is even considering moving down to the Nationwide Series or Camping World Truck Series next season.

“If I have to go back to Nationwide or go back to the Truck (series) and get my chance and opportunity to win races, you’ll see Elliott Sadler do that instead of go somewhere where there’s a start-and-park (car) or ride around,” Sadler said. “That’s not me. I’m way too competitive for that. I don’t have a big enough ego to where I have to be labeled a Cup driver. I want to be a driver that’s competitive.”

Marcos Ambrose, who recently announced he would be leaving his Sprint Cup Series ride with JTG Daugherty Racing after this season, is rumored to be headed to RPM. This would give the RPM two drivers next season if Sadler does indeed leave.

Drivers are not the only issue for the team, however. Sponsorship is also a problem with the departure of Budweiser and Menard’s. Although, when the team announced a new deal with Allmendinger a few weeks ago, they also said they had some another announcements in their pocket.

“We have some announcements in our pocket,” team co-owner Richard Petty said. “We like to have press conferences, so we wanted to spread it out a little bit.”

Kahne is currently the highest RPM driver in the Sprint Cup Series driver points standings thru last weekend at Michigan International Speedway. He is 16th and trails the 12th place Chase for the Sprint Cup cutoff by 126 points.

Allmendinger is 22nd, Menard is 23rd and Sadler is 29th.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com


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