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Petty to replace Allmendinger with Busch or Ragan?UPDATE #5 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' this morning. Sources say David Ragan is likely to replace A.J. Allmendinger in the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Ford, with an announcement possible as soon as today Sirius Speedway
12/21/11 Allmendinger has been confirmed at Penske with this announcement.
12/21/11 Rumors in the NASCAR world say that A.J. Allmendinger could be headed to the #22 Penske Dodge and David Ragan could replace Allmendinger in the #43 RPM Ford. If true, Ragan's job could be saved as the No. 6 Roush car was shutting down due to lack of sponsorship.
AJ Allmendinger could always return to IndyCar should he lose his NASCAR ride
12/14/11 RPM struggled to re-sign Best Buy a year ago, negotiating until early January before inking a one-year contract. The electronics retailer served as major sponsor of the #43 team in 26 events this season. RPM did not release an official statement on the speculation that either Allmendinger had been released or if Best Buy was ready to remain with the team for 2012. The possibility of adding Busch as a third entry has also been discussed but contingent on finding additional sponsorship. CBS Sports
12/14/11 Sirius XM NASCAR Radio's Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody has learned that in an effort to retain sponsor Best Buy, Richard Petty Motorsports has proposed replacing AJ Allmendinger as driver of the legendary #43 Ford with Busch. RPM struggled to re-sign Best Buy a year ago, negotiating until early January before inking a one-year contract. The electronics retailer served as major sponsor of the #43 team in 26 events this season.
Richard Petty Motorsports Chief Operating Officer Robbie Loomis confirmed today that discussions have been held regarding Busch, saying, "Best Buy has been a great partner for a long time, and AJ Allmendinger has done a fantastic job for us. He's coming off his best season yet, but I can tell you there is a lot of interest on our part in having Kurt Busch in the fold. It makes sense to have Kurt with our team, if we can make it work.
"Our main focus is to continue building on what we finished the season with last year," said Loomis. "But right now, I feel like I'm running down two different sets of train tracks. From a personal standpoint, nothing has excited me more than when I heard Kurt had become available. I'm excited about the opportunity to add a driver like Kurt Busch to Richard Petty Motorsports. I would mortgage my house to make Kurt a part of this team. We value what he has done on the race track. He has won a (Sprint Cup) championship and worked for a first-class operation like Penske Racing. Guys like that don't come along every day." | Allmendinger finished 15th in 2011 Sprint Cup Series championship points, with one Top-5 and 10 Top-10 finishes. His best finish was a fifth in the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in late May. Busch won a pair of races this season at Infineon and Dover en route to 11th in points, tallying eight Top-5 and 16 Top-10 finishes. He parted company with Penske Racing earlier this month, in the aftermath of a much-publicized verbal confrontation with ESPN pit reporter Dr. Jerry Punch during the 2011 season finale at Homestead Miami Speedway Sirius Speedway
12/14/11 Could Richard Petty Motorsports be interested in former NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kurt Busch?
RPM currently fields cars for AJ Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose. On Tuesday, the Sirius Speedway radio show reported that RPM was considering Busch for the No. 43 Ford currently driven by Allmendinger.
RPM co-owner Andy Murstein considers Busch “a great talent” and believes the former Penske Racing driver “will find a home sooner than later.”
"Kurt’s issues are far less severe than what other athletes have done in other sports,” Murstein told FOXSports.com Tuesday. “Those athletes have all received second chances and Kurt will too. He wasn't caught running a dog-fighting ring, he wasn't caught with a handgun in a club, he wasn't using performance-enhancing drugs, and unlike his brother he wasn't even letting his temper get the best of him to cause a wreck.
“I think he is a great competitor who just needs to take a step back and clear his head. Perhaps someone as well-respected, talented, and universally loved like the King could help him accomplish that."
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