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McArdle's contract terminated

9/17/2009 - NASCAR

CHARLOTTE -- Richard Petty Motorsports has fired Mark McArdle, the vice president and managing director of competition, the team announced on Thursday.

"The company and Mark have decided to go in different directions. It was an amicable departure and we are finalizing some details with him," said Rick Russell, team president. "We appreciate all of Mark's many contributions and wish him well in all future endeavors he may pursue."

McArdle, who was suspended on Friday at Richmond International Raceway after a heated confrontation with co-owner George Gillett Jr., was given his release on Monday, a source told ESPN on Wednesday.

Sources said the confrontation was sparked by McArdle's displeasure over RPM's decision to absorb Yates Racing, meaning more than 60 people in the team's engine shop in Concord, N.C., would be let go after the season.

McArdle said he leaves after achieving his goal of restoring the team to championship contention.

"We have all worked really hard to get Richard Petty Motorsports back in the Chase and we accomplished that goal Saturday night," McArdle said. "Everyone at the team should take great pride in that. I wish the company nothing but success in the future. There will be nobody rooting harder for the No. 9 to win the championship than me."

McArdle was in charge of RPM's engine and chassis program.

Minority team owner Richard Petty said plans are to use Roush-Yates engines and likely Roush Fenway Racing chassis next season when the deal is complete in the next two weeks to a month.

Gillett would not elaborate about his argument with McArdle, saying only that McArdle was suspended and a decision on whether he would be fired was a "subject of discussion.''

McArdle joined the organization, then known as Evernham Motorsports, in May of 2003.

David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com.