Richard Petty Motorsports celebrated the life of Mrs. Lynda Petty Sunday, paying tribute to the matriarch of the Petty family by claiming a pair of Top-10 finishes in the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
Marcos Ambrose and the No. 9 DEWALT Ford team finished fifth, while Aric Almirola raced the famous STP colors and the No. 43 Ford to an eighth-place finish. The results marked the 100th and 101st Top-10 finishes in RPM's relatively short history. In 516 starts with seven different drivers since 2009, RPM has averaged a Top-10 finish every five races.
Ambrose and Almirola account for 41 of those Top-10s, and have finished in the Top-10 four times this season. Ambrose was especially strong Sunday, leading a total of 22 laps.
"We spent a lot of money and a lot of effort in getting Richard Petty Motorsports back on the map and I think you're seeing the results," said Ambrose. "We've been fast for about four weeks in a row and we're just starting to hit our stride. We're going to win one of these soon, lock ourselves in the Chase and feel good about our chances.
“We've had a really tough week (after) we lost Miss Lynda,” he said. “We really wanted to win for (the Petty family), but we'll take a Top-5. Our guys had their best day on pit road in a long time and Drew Blickensderfer and Derek on the pit box made great calls late in the race. If we would have had another round of pit stops, we might have had something for them."
As RPM closes out the month of March, Ambrose is currently 14th in the championship standings and in position for a Chase birth. Almirola has rebounded after a costly wreck at Auto Club Speedway in California last week, and is only 20 points out of the Top-15 in championship standings.
This is the best start since the ownership of Richard Petty, Andrew Murstein and Doug Bergeron took control of the company.