RPM taking over Yates Racing
RICHMOND, Va. -- The deal that brought together Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing for next season is more of a buyout than a merger, minority owner Richard Petty said on Friday.
"We're basically taking over their deal," the seven-time Sprint Cup champion said before qualifying at Richmond International Raceway. "As far as I know all of that whole operation will be Richard Petty Motorsports."
Petty said George Gillett Jr., who declined to comment earlier Friday, would remain the controlling owner. He said Robbie Loomis, the executive director of race operations at RPM, will continue to run day to day operations.
He was unsure what role Max Jones, who co-owned Yates Racing with Doug Yates, would take but speculated that he would stay on as the general manager. Jones declined to comment.
Sources close to the situation said Yates would continue to run the Roush-Yates engine program that will supply engines to RPM's four teams -- Paul Menard from Yates and Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and A.J. Allmendinger from RPM.
Petty said plans are to move from RPM's Statesville, N.C., shop to Yates' facility in Concord, N.C., to be closer to Roush Fenway Racing, which will continue to supply parts, pieces and technical support as it did with Yates.
"The way it's set up we're going to do everything at the Yates' shop just like Yates and [Roush] are doing," he said. "Basically right now all I can tell you is we signed a letter of intent. What that means is both sides have agreed to make it work.
"We've got to sit down and get our stuff together. To do that we've got to move a bunch of people and stuff around. They have to do the same thing."
Because engines will come from Roush-Yates, RPM will have to shut down its engine department that employed more than 40 people. Petty said the potential of letting more people go during tough economic times was the tough part of the deal.
He reiterated that none of that is official "until they sign this is really the way it is."
Petty added there is no concern the deal won't be finalized.
"It's not going to fall through," Petty said. "Each side has said we want this to happen. Now it's just a negotiation of making it happen."
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.