Richard Petty vows to remain in mix
MARTINSVILLE, Va. -- Richard Petty doesn't plan to let financial woes run him out of the Sprint Cup Series.
"I've been here since 1949 and I'm going to be here 'til they run me off," the minority owner of Richard Petty Motorsports said on Sunday at Martinsville Speedway.
Petty would not comment on whether he is attempting to put together investors to purchase majority interest from George Gillett, whose legal dispute over the sale of the Liverpool soccer team has impacted the finances of the racing organization to the point there was concern it wouldn't be able to compete past this weekend.
I haven't got anything to tell you except speculation on somebody else's part and my part and that ain't going to get anybody anywhere. When we do get all of it together we'll get it together.” -- Richard Petty
But Roush Fenway Racing owner Jack Roush, whose organization leases cars and engines to RPM, told ESPN.com that Petty was attempting to purchase controlling interest of the team.
"I haven't got anything to tell you except speculation on somebody else's part and my part and that ain't going to get anybody anywhere," Petty said from the back of the No. 9 hauler. "When we do get all of it together we'll get it together.''
Robbie Loomis, the team's director of competition, quelled speculation that RPM was about to fold by saying on Saturday the four-car organization planned to be at Talladega next weekend and hoped to finish the season.
"Like I said before, there's been a lot of speculation about a lot of things," Loomis said. "There always has been in this sport, but what gives me confidence is that we've always had the ability to move forward."
Petty sold interest in Petty Enterprises to Boston Ventures three years ago and moved the operation from its longtime home in Randleman, N.C., to Mooresville, N.C. In 2009, he then partnered with Gillett, the owner of Gillett Evernham Motorsports, who changed the name to Richard Petty Motorsports.
Before this season, the organization merged with Yates Racing and moved into the shop next to Roush Fenway in Concord, N.C.
Speculation that RPM was on the verge of closing its doors began on Wednesday when star driver Kasey Kahne was released, allowing him to join Red Bull Racing for the final five races before taking over one of its cars full-time in 2011.
There were rumors that Roush Fenway had repossessed cars and that RPM owed Kahne and Roush millions. Roush said Thursday that RPM was up to date on payments and that neither cars nor engines had been repossessed. Kahne also said he has been paid in full.
"They are not in debt with us," Roush said. "I know they're working on their Talladega cars, and I'm sure they're paid up through Talladega. I assume there is another payment due between now and the end of the year, but I don't know how much.
"I have expectations that they'll be able to finish the deal."
Roush said he wasn't concerned with RPM's situation or with the possibility that Petty could be forced out of the sport.
"One thing I have heard is Richard is negotiating for a larger stake in Richard Petty Motorsports," he said.
Aric Almirola was in the No. 9 vacated by Kahne for Sunday's race. A decision on who will drive the car at Talladega hasn't been made.
"You know me good enough that when I have something to tell you I will call you [media] together and let everybody know at the same time," Petty said.
David Newton covers NASCAR for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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