The change comes as part of an immediate, aggressive strategy by RPM leadership to improve speed, performance and future growth of RPM. The goal is to improve on-track results from 2016 and to capitalize on the progress made in previous seasons.
"The past several years, we have made significant investments in our organization with the goal of winning races and to compete at a high level on a weekly basis," said Brian Moffitt, Chief Executive Officer, Richard Petty Motorsports. "We now have direction over our own chassis and bodies and work closely with Ford Performance on technology and engineering. With these investments, unfortunately, we have not seen the on-track results that we expected this season.
"As we look ahead to 2017, we are taking steps forward to improve our on-track product to better serve our partners and fans. This means analyzing every part of our organization and making adjustments where needed. Sammy Johns has been a big part of our organization; he helped us succeed in many different ways and helped us become a winning race team. We wish him nothing but the best going forward."
RPM has seen success on the track in recent seasons. Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Ford Fusion had their most consistent season together and highest average finish to date in 2015. They were also a race winning team in 2014 and competed in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
Off the track, the organization has continued to grow relationships with primary partners Smithfield Foods, Albertsons Companies, Shore Lodge, U.S. Air Force, Twisted Tea, STP, Fresh From Florida and Jacob Companies.
"Our partners have seen success and believe in our mission," continued Moffitt. "They share in our commitment to see Aric and Brian competing at a higher level each weekend."
Lopez and McDougall will begin their duties at the track in Darlington this weekend.