Petty-Yates deal still pending

The two big unknowns about the pending merger between Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing can be summed up in two words: "When?" and "If." The two sides have executed a letter of intent and are working toward finalizing the deal. The new organization will continue under the Richard Petty Motorsports name and will switch from Dodge to Ford next season. According to a joint release two weeks ago at Richmond, the team's lineup will include current RPM drivers Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler and A.J. Allmendinger as well as Yates driver Paul Menard. Team co-owner Richard Petty estimated Sept. 12 at Richmond that the deal could be concluded within two weeks, but that projection now appears optimistic, as the parties are still ironing out the details. Menard is a key element, in that he brings with him sponsorship from Menards, the Midwestern home-improvement chain founded and owned by his father, John Menard. Though Paul Menard affirmed his commitment to the deal Friday at Dover International Speedway, his assessment of the merger was frequently qualified by the word "if." Sporting News/

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