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RPM to Toyota?UPDATE #6 It appears Richard Petty Motorsports will not move from Dodge to Toyota next season. At least that's the impression that Lee White, who heads Toyota Racing Development, gave last weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway. White said he believes that Mike Accaviti, the president of the Dodge brand, is doing all he can to keep RPM in the fold. He also said that would be a good thing, that the sport needs all four manufacturers to be strong. He actually seemed to wish them luck and didn't seemed bothered that Toyota will not be welcoming in another organization. It makes sense -- Toyota's interest in RPM was tweaked when Red Bull Racing appeared set to leave the fold for General Motors and an association with Hendrick Motorsports. Now that Red Bull is set to re-sign with Toyota, there is not the urgency to get another organization. Having said that, there are no guarantees that RPM will be back with Dodge even if Toyota is out of the picture. The organization has had talks with General Motors as well. But all signs point to Dodge fielding cars for RPM and Penske Racing moving forward. ESPN Insider
08/12/09 Multiple sources at Richard Petty Motorsports tell Sirius Speedway that RPM is still mulling the possibility of moving its entire operation to the Toyota camp in 2010. RPM spokesmen have downplayed reports of a possible manufacturer switch in recent weeks, but sources say that talks are ongoing with both Dodge and Toyota. No decisions have been made, but in an attempt to cover all their bases, the team recently had a series of publicity photos taken of Kasey Kahne and a Budweiser-sponsored #9 Toyota Camry. Sirius Speedway
07/04/09 Chrysler is working on a deal to pay off some of its debt to Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owner Richard Petty said on Friday at Daytona International Speedway. Petty said last month that Chrysler's bankruptcy put cash flow from the manufacturer to the organization on hold. The subsequent layoff of nine RPM employees also was blamed on anticipated cuts from the bankruptcy. "They've stopped everything,'' he said of Chrysler's support. Petty said on Friday that RPM should expect some money soon. "Yeah, we'll get some money from them,'' he said. "Right now we're in the process of figuring out exactly what they can do to get back to us to see what we can do." Petty's initial comments increased speculation that RPM may leave Dodge for Toyota after this season. The organization is in the final year of its contract and has partnered with Toyota's Braun Racing for five Nationwide Series races in 2009. ESPN.com
Braun Racing Nationwide Series team announced that Great Clips, Inc., will return for another three seasons to sponsor the #38 Toyota in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Jason Leffler will pilot the #38 Great Clips Camry for 27 of the 35 scheduled races while Kasey Kahne will drive the #38 in the remaining eight races. Braun Racing PR
06/24/09 Tuesday, June 23rd on “Sirius Speedway” on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio, host Dave Moody spoke with NASCAR legend Richard Petty. Petty was asked about the rumors that Richard Petty Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne might be switching from a Dodge to a Toyota.
Host, Dave Moody: “Lot of rumors swirling around about Kasey Kahne and a possible affiliation with Toyota, on again, off again, conversations that may or may not be happening. What can you tell us on that, if anything?” Richard Petty: “Exactly what you just said. That’s how much I know about it, too. It’s all swirling around. You grab some of it. I don’t really know, okay? And I don’t think anybody knows right now exactly where we’re sitting, what we’re gonna do, what’s gonna happen, you know, three weeks from now let alone the beginning of next year. We’re like everybody else. We’re trying to put ourselves together with our sponsor deals, make sure we’ve got monetary deals to be able to go do the deal. Then we’re going to look at whatever we think is going to be the best for Richard Petty Motorsports in the short run and the long run. Because after being here for 50 or 60 years anyway I’m not looking for a quick fix, okay? We’re trying to put stuff together so that we can go on down the road next year, the year after next, the year after that. What happens? I don’t know. We’re open about anything right now to look at. So we’re going to put everything on the table and then we’re going to say, ‘Okay, this happens and that happens and this over here happens.’ Then we hope we’ll make the right decisions on where we go. Other than that, that’s about all I know about it.”
Moody: “I know you’ve been fiercely loyal to Dodge over the years but at the end of the day loyalty doesn’t feed the dog, does it?” Petty: “Well, you’ve got to look at it from the standpoint that can Dodge be loyal to us now that the government owns Chrysler, okay, or whoever owns it? So I don’t know if the people that are head of what’s going on right now, are they race fans? If they are then that’s going to be great. But if they’re not then, you know, it affects so many people and there’s so much going on out there, under the table deal or under the ground, that we don’t know about. So what Dodge does next year or what Chevrolet does or what Ford does or Toyota or whoever, we’re just going to have to sort of wait and let things sort of let the dust settle and then we’re going to run in there and pick up the best thing we can.”
Moody: “Would it be even theoretically feasible to field two different brands of race cars out of the same race shop? Could that be done?” Petty: “You know, I’ve asked the same question. (laughs) Really, I have. I said, ‘What if?’ And I think that’s what we’re gonna have to do. We’re gonna have to say, ‘What if?’ and then see if it’s done and what would it be to be able to do something like that. The problem I see with running two different kinds of cars out of the same shop is basically the engine shop. The cars have got the same wheels, same brakes, same chassis, same basic body so all that stuff would be easy. The big deal was how could you do the motor situation? That would be the big question mark. I don’t know if it’s ever been done but if it could be done we could probably do it.” “SIRIUS Speedway” airs every weekday (3-7 pm ET) exclusively on SIRIUS NASCAR Radio. SIRIUS XM Radio
06/22/09 Sirius Speedway has learned that Richard Petty Motorsports will begin fielding Toyotas for driver #9-Kasey Kahne in mid-August, with at least part of the team remaining in Dodge livery for the time being. Published reports this week claimed the team will begin fielding Toyotas for Kahne at Chicagoland Speedway on July 11, but an RPM source speaking on the condition of anonymity tells Sirius Speedway that the change will not happen until team officials are able to hammer out a financial settlement with their current manufacturer. “Dodge owes the team a ton of money, and they’re trying to negotiate some kind of settlement right now,” said one source. “Until that’s done, the team cannot make a move. Once the settlement is signed, you’ll see Kasey Kahne in a Toyota.” RPM’s familiar #43 – driven by Reed Sorenson – will remain in Dodge livery for the foreseeable future. A decision on future manufacturer affiliations for the #19 and #44 cars -- driven by Elliott Sadler and AJ Allmendinger – is pending. Sirius Speedway
06/22/09 Speculation that Richard Petty and Kasey Kahne could switch to Toyotas as soon as July? Lee White, head of Toyota' racing development operations, says "I've never talked to the King or his driver. I'm pretty sure that no one at Toyota/TRD has talked to either of them." mikemulhern.net
06/22/09 Speculation is increasing that Dodge driver Kasey Kahne, who runs for Richard Petty, could switch to a Toyota by the July 11th Sprint Cup race at Chicago. Petty has said that Chrysler has cut its payments to his four-car operation, and apparently Petty has only enough engine parts for one of the new Dodge NASCAR engines. Petty's business partner, George Gillett, tried last season to make a deal with Toyota. There is no immediate comment from Toyota officials. mikemulhern.net
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