The rumors that began to circulate late yesterday appear to be true. Multiple sources at both Petty Enterprises and Gillett-Evernham Motorsports have confirmed to Sirius Speedway that there will be no 61st season of NASCAR competition for Petty Enterprises. After 10 championships and more than 200 victories, the team will close its doors at the end of business today and merge with Gillett Evernham Motorsports under the new name Richard Petty Motorsports.
After what were reported to be some starts and stops in recent weeks, the merger was finally completed on Christmas Eve, with a formal announcement of the merger expected early next week. It is expected that the familiar #43 Dodge will be driven next season by Reed Sorenson, with Kasey Kahne continuing in the #9 Dodge, and AJ Allmendinger replacing Elliott Sadler in the #19.
Petty Enterprises will reportedly lay off almost all of their remaining employees today. CEO David Zucker, who has been with the team since the Boston Ventures equity firm purchased a majority interest in June, will reportedly be assigned to the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Executive Vice President of Racing Operations Robbie Loomis will assume a management position with RPM, while former #43 carchief Ray Fox Jr. is expected to jump to JTG-Daugherty Racing and work with driver Marcos Ambrose.