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What drivers will stick with backmarker Petty team? UPDATE Free-agent Sprint Cup Series driver #43-AJ Allmendinger will stay put after signing a contract extension with Richard Petty Motorsports, Sporting News has learned. The contract, signed Tuesday, is a multiyear deal, according to sources close to the situation. The team is optimistic about the prospect of re-signing Allmendinger's sponsor, Best Buy, though sponsorship was not settled before Tuesday's contract signing. A formal announcement will take place Friday at Watkins Glen International. The driver of the #43 RPM Ford is 22nd in the series standings. Now that Allmendinger has decided to remain in the organization's flagship car, RPM will work toward filling the remaining slots on the team. Kasey Kahne and Elliott Sadler have announced plans to depart at the end of the season. Marcos Ambrose, who will leave the #47 JTG/Daugherty Toyota team at season's end, is a leading candidate to fill the seat of one of the RPM Fords. Paul Menard, who drives the #98 RPM Ford, has not announced plans for next year but has talked to other teams, including Richard Childress Racing, according to multiple sources. Sporting News

07/13/10 Richard Petty Motorsports plans to have a three- to four-car stable next season that includes AJ Allmendinger and Paul Menard, vice president of race operations Robbie Loomis said on Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway. Loomis also didn't close the door on re-signing Elliott Sadler, who declared himself a free agent on Friday and said he didn't expect to return to the organization.

"We have interest [in Sadler]," Loomis said. "Elliott is among three or four drivers who is on the table we're looking at. The bottom line is, I always say this, we're in the performing business and when you're performing it's easier for everything."

Sadler ranks 28th in points, but Loomis hopes the addition of crew chief Todd Parrott can turn the No. 19 team around.

"I don't think the door is closed by any means," Loomis said. "Elliott is a talented racecar driver. For whatever reason we haven't been able to put together the finishes we need.

"There's been a lot of changes we've made over the years, even before I got there. We really felt like putting Todd in there is going to be the real measuring stick with where we're at with that race team."

Although Allmendinger is talking to several other teams, Loomis expects him to return to the famed No. 43 and be the anchor of the organization with Kasey Kahne headed to Hendrick Motorsports.

Allmendinger is 22nd in points and had six straight finishes of 14th or better before last week's 36th-place finish at Daytona.

"We know where we're at,'' Loomis said of Allmendinger's contract negotiations. "We just need to get our I's dotted and T's crossed. ESPN

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