Sirius Speedway has learned that the much-discussed merger between Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Enterprises has run aground. Anonymous sources say that GEM laid off approximately 50 employees today, and that its NASCAR Nationwide Series team will be cut back dramatically. In addition, multiple sources say that GEM’s #10 Sprint Cup team and driver Reed Sorenson could run only a partial schedule next season.
While not commenting on reported problems with the Petty deal, Gillett Evernham Motorsports CEO Tom Reddin confirmed today that major changes are underway. "We are a Sprint Cup team first and foremost, and winning in that series needs to be our primary focus,” he said. “The Nationwide Series is a fantastic series and we certainly look forward to racing a partial schedule in 2009, but we will not run the full season next year. We will remained focused on putting all of our effort behind the Cup program in 2009. GEM is very fortunate to have nearly all of our Cup sponsors returning in 2009 in addition to the new arrival of others."
Reddin said that GEM will also restructure its engine department for 2009, to align with a reduced number of engine leasing customers next season.