Richard Petty left little doubt yesterday that discussions have taken place about converting at least part of the Richard Petty Motorsports stable to Toyota power.
In an exclusive Sirius Speedway interview, the seven-time Sprint Cup Series champion was asked about reports that his team will field Toyotas for driver Kasey Kahne as soon as mid-August. "It's all swirling around," said Petty. "I don't really know, and I don't think anybody knows right now exactly where we're sitting, what we're gonna do, (or) what's gonna happen... three weeks from now, let alone the beginning of next year.
"We're like everybody else," he said. "We're trying to put ourselves together with our sponsor deals, make sure we've got (the money) to be able to go. Then we're going to look at whatever we think is going to be best for Richard Petty Motorsports in the short run and the long run.
"After being here for 50 or 60 years, I'm not looking for a quick fix," said Petty. "We're trying to put stuff together so that we can go on down the road next year, the year after next (and) the year after that."
"We're open about anything right now. So we're going to put everything on the table and... hope we make the right decisions on where we go."
Asked about his longtime loyalty to the Dodge brand, Petty replied that loyalty is a two-way street.
"You've got to look at it from the standpoint of; can Dodge be loyal to us now that the government owns Chrysler? I don't know if the people (in Washington) are race fans. If they are, then that's going to be great. But if they're not, it affects so many people. There's so much going on out there -- under the table or under the ground -- that we don't know about. So what Dodge does next year -- or Chevrolet, Ford, Toyota or whoever -- we're just going to have to wait and let the dust settle. Then we're going to run in there and pick up the best thing we can."
Petty admitted that discussions have taken place about the challenges of fielding two different brands of race car out of the same shop.
"I've asked the same question," he laughed. "Really, I have. I said, 'What if?' And I think that's what we're gonna have to do. We're gonna have to say, 'What if?' and see...(what it would take) to be able to do something like that."
Petty said he sees at least one major roadblock to the two-manufacturer system: the engine shop.
"The cars have got the same wheels, same brakes, same chassis snd same basic body, so all that stuff would be easy. The big deal is how could you do the motor situation? That would be the big question mark. I don't know if it's ever been done, but if it could be done, we could probably do it."