Petty Enterprises to bring back No. 44 car in '09

Updated: October 17, 2008, 5:22 PM ET
By David Newton | ESPN.com

MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Petty Enterprises will resurrect the No. 44 for its second Sprint Cup team next season, vice president of racing operations Robbie Loomis said Friday.

The No. 45, currently fielded as the second team with Bobby Labonte in the No. 43, will be reserved only for any races that Kyle Petty may run. Petty switched from the No. 44 to the 45 after his son, Adam, was killed driving that number in a Busch Series practice in 2000.

Loomis said the organization remains high on Chad McCumbee as the second driver. He did not rule out Petty appearing in a handful of races if sponsorship is available.

The No. 44 was used sparingly by the Pettys from 2000 to 2003, and then was transferred in 2007 to Michael Waltrip Racing for Dale Jarrett.

David Reutimann has driven the No. 44 for MWR this season, but he will switch to the No. 00 in 2009. The No. 00 crew will move to Marcos Ambrose's No. 47 team with the JTG organization that recently formed an alliance with MWR for next season.

Michael Waltrip Racing will field two cars -- Michael Waltrip will remain in the No. 55 -- next season unless it can find a sponsor and driver for a third.

Michael McDowell began the season as the third driver, but he has been replaced the past two weekends with AJ Allmendinger and Mike Bliss. General manager Ty Norris said any future driver would have to be approved by the sponsor first.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at dnewtonespn@aol.com.

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ESPN Carolina Panthers reporter