Richard Petty Motorsports’ Executive Director of Race Operations Robbie Loomis says the team could field a Ford Fusion before the end of the 2009 season.
Loomis told FoxSports.com’s Lee Spencer, “I don't want to talk about things that are pure speculation, but I don't think it would surprise anybody if we did.” A spokesperson for RPM told Sirius Speedway today that there are no plans to field a Ford before 2010, but off the record, sources inside RPM say that the team has already built at least one Ford Fusion, installing a Ford powerplant in an existing RPM chassis.
Initial plans were to have AJ Allmendinger debut the car at Kansas Speedway next week, but that timetable was pushed back when Roush-Fenway Racing's Jack Roush expressed reservations about the quick ramp-up. Now, tentative plans call for Allmendinger to drive a Richard Petty Motorsports Ford at Talladega Superspeedway on November 1, with additional outings possible -– though not certain –- at Texas, Phoenix and Homestead-Miami Speedways.
Calls to Richard Petty Motorsports seeking comment were not immediately returned.
Loomis also confirmed today that Reed Sorenson is not the first RPM driver to race for free, saying that Allmendinger also waived his paycheck for a time, in order to remain on the racetrack.
"AJ and all the employees at Richard Petty Motorsports made sacrifices in order to continue being a four-car team," he said. "When those guys stepped up, it really said a lot to me about the character of Reed Sorenson, AJ Allmendinger and everybody at Richard Petty Motorsports.”