INDIANAPOLIS— After his four race stint filling in for Aric Almirola, Bubba Wallace Jr. is still actively looking for sponsorship to participate in NASCAR.
After showing impeccable performance during his stint, reports indicated that Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) was actively looking for sponsorship for potentially a second car for Wallace in 2018. RPM currently has leased their second charter to Matt DiBenedetto and GoFas Racing. RPM will either have to sell their charter or use it for a second car in 2018.
When asked, this is what Richard Petty said about Wallace and a second ride at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:
“We haven’t talked that much to Darrell. He is still looking and trying to find a home. If we had the chance, we would definitely be more than interested in having him drive the car. Right now, it is up to somebody else. If somebody decides to be involved with us, then we will work it out from there.”
During his tenure at RPM, Wallace Jr had an average finish of 17.8 and average start of 22.5. Over the four race period, Wallace Jr actively increased his best finish from 26th to 11th. He competed in all but two laps during his time at RPM this season.
Marcos Ambrose needs a victory. There is no way around it. In order to make the Chase for the Sprint Cup, he must get rid of the egg in the win column, or he will need to move up a few spots in the standings.
This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series hits the road course in upstate New York. The only track where Ambrose has recorded victories in NASCAR’s top-tier division, Watkins Glen has by far been his top track. In six races at the Glen, Ambrose has five top-fives.
“We both know we have a chance to win this race to lock into the Chase and that is a big thing for our team and would make our year,” Ambrose said in a press conference on Friday morning. “It is an important weekend no doubt. You have to try to downplay that as best as you can coming in. We are excited. We had a good test up here last week and felt like the car was a repeat of last year and we had a fast car last year too. We have our fingers crossed that it comes off the truck here pretty quick and we can get back down to business and work on starting in the front.”
Arguably, this is going to be the most important weekend of the 37-year-old’s NASCAR career. With rumors circling around Roger Penske and Dick Johnson teaming up to form a V8 Supercar team in Ambrose’s home country of Australia, he might just be on the move. Although he claims to have not made a decision on his future, it appears as if he is leaning away from leaving NASCAR competition on a full-time basis unless his Richard Petty Motorsports team can find some consistency before the season concludes.
“It’s going to be up to Marcos. I don’t know if he’s made a complete decision as far as where he is going to be. I know he wants to run some, but I don’t know if he wants to run all the time or not. We ain’t got a clue yet,” said team co-owner Richard Petty. “It (the season) is a little bit better than it was last year. We got a long way to go. We have one car in the Chase, but we still have to run well. Just because you are in the Chase doesn’t mean much.”
If he opts not to return to full-time competition in NASCAR, Petty said the team might run him on a part-time basis. The V8 Supercar season starts around the same time that the NASCAR season does, but the season continues on until early December – leaving very few options for Ambrose if he wants to do both.
“You know what you need from the race car to get to victory lane and that inner confidence to do what you need to do,” Ambrose said. “My past history is no guarantee at the future. That is the way I look at it. Each weekend is unique to itself and this weekend in particular, already there are some different angles that we haven’t had to deal with before like the new ride height and downforce rules as well as fuel mileage and how that comes into play which will be different compared to last year.”
It might be a time for change. Marcos Ambrose appears to be leaning on leaving Richard Petty Motorsports for a deal in Australia with Team Penske in a partnership with Dick Johnson.
Prior to racing in NASCAR, Ambrose raced in the Australian V8 Supercar division, and was extremely successful in the process. However, a decision has not been made by the 37-year-old, and the team is set to prepare for the 2015 season.
“It’s going to be up to Marcos. I don’t know if he’s made a complete decision as far as where he is going to be. I know he wants to run some, but I don’t know if he wants to run all the time or not. We ain’t got a clue yet,” said team co-owner Richard Petty in the garage area on Friday afternoon.
With Aric Almirola's victory at Daytona International Speedway, the entire team has high expectations for both drivers. As they move forward, the team hopes to contend for a win. Possibly, his future might be determined based on how the No. 9 Ford races at Watkins Glen next weekend - Ambrose's best track.
“That was just a good deal for all of RPM. It helped the No. 9 car and the 43 team. We know we could do it. Winning breeds winning. Hopefully, this will get everybody up and going.”
This year, Ambrose has two top-fives and four top-10s. But he sits 19th in points with an average finish of 18.6, which ranks as his third best in that category since making the jump to full-time Sprint Cup Series racing in 2009.
Michael Annett and the No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers team finished 18th in Saturday's NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) race at Chicagoland Speedway. With few cautions early in the race, Annett went one lap down to the leaders early. The team rallied the rest of the race to gain their lap back and crossed the finish line 18th.
Annett started the 200-lap race from the 15th position, but he struggled with the handling of the No. 43 Ford from the beginning. He reported to Crew Chief Philippe Lopez very early in the race that the car was tight. By the first caution on Lap 25, Annett was in the 20th position. He radioed that the car wasn't too far off, but that he couldn't get it to go anywhere in the middle of the corners. Lopez called for four tires, a trackbar and air pressure adjustments. Annett restarted 24th on Lap 29.
The team was able to gain a few position over the long green flag run, but still battled with the handling of the Pilot Travel Centers Ford. The long run allowed the leaders to catch the field and Annett went one lap down on Lap 67. Lopez called the No. 43 Ford to pit road for a green flag pit stop on Lap 83. The Pilot Travel Centers crew changed four tires and made air pressure and wedge adjustments. Once green flag stops cycled through, Annett was running in the 21st position, one lap down.
With only 12 cars on the lead lap, the second caution of the day came on Lap 108. Annett reported that the handling of the car was similar to where they struggled in Atlanta and the No. 43 Ford was free in the corners. Lopez called for four tires, more air pressure and trackbar adjustments. Annett restarted 22nd on Lap 113.
Annett battled for the Lucky Dog position shortly after the restart, but was never able to catch the break he needed. The No. 43 Ford was running in the 16th position, and about to make a pit stop, when the caution came for an accident in Turn Four on Lap 159. Annett came down pit road for four tires and a trackbar adjustment. He restarted in the 17th position and again in the Lucky Dog spot on Lap 164.
A stroke of luck found the Pilot Travel Centers team when the caution came out just two laps after the restart, putting Annett back on the lead lap as the Lucky Dog. The No. 43 Ford stayed on the track and restarted in the same position, 17th, on Lap 170.
The caution flag waved two more times, but Lopez kept the No. 43 Pilot Travel Centers on the track. With the best set of tires left in the race already on the car, the cautions allowed Annett to gain some track position. He restarted 14th for the last restart of the race on Lap 187.
With 36 laps on his tires, Annett battled hard for track position until taking the checkered flag in the 18th position.
"We were hoping that our troubles in Atlanta wouldn't follow us to Chicago, but that seemed to be the case today. We've been trying some new set-ups and it's making it hard for us to get the response we need from the car during the race. We've got our short track program down, but we just need to get our mile-and-a-half program back to where it was last year. We're headed to another mile-and-a-half track next week too. Hopefully we can use our notes from Atlanta and Chicago and work throughout the weekend to get the Pilot Flying J Ford a better finish next weekend."
The NNS team at Richard Petty Motorsports will return to action at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday, September 21st. The Kentucky 300 will be televised live on ESPNNews.
About Richard Petty Motorsports:
A performance and marketing driven company, Richard Petty Motorsports, co-owned by NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and successful business entrepreneurs Andrew Murstein and Douglas Bergeron, is one of the most recognized brands in all of motorsports. With a history of over 200 wins and business partnerships with national and global leaders, today the race operation fields two teams in competition in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Aric Almirola pilots the famous No. 43 Ford Fusion with primary partners Smithfield Foods, U.S. Air Force and STP and Marcos Ambrose drives the No. 9 machine with primary partners Stanley and DEWALT. In addition, Michael Annett wheels the No. 43 Pilot Flying J Ford Mustang full-time in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The team is headquartered in Concord, N.C.
-Richard Petty Motorsports PR
It was a race that hadn’t happened in more than 40 years and now you can own a part of that history. For the right price that is.
For the first time in 43 years, one of NASCAR’s major touring series took to the dirt track for a race that sold out in a matter of minutes.
When the historic NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Eldora Speedway came to a close on July 24th, former Champion Austin Dillon stood in Victory Lane with a trophy full of dirt. With his win, Dillon etched his name in history with the likes of the King himself, Richard Petty, the last driver to win a NASCAR sanctioned race on dirt.
Austin Dillon may have mad history on that Wednesday in July, but now you have the opportunity to own a piece of history from that race for yourself.
During the heat races leading up to the feature race, all eyes were on one driver as he tried to battle his way into the field. Norm Benning raced his heart out in the last chance qualifier and secured himself one of the remaining spots in the feature race with the blank-red No.57 truck. Benning raced so hard that his truck was falling apart at the seams at the end of the last chance qualifier.
Teams from across the garage raced over to help Benning and his crew repair his truck in time for the feature race. That very truck, whose side was almost ripped off in competition, is now up for auction on the popular site, eBay.
The race truck, in the same condition as it was at the end of the feature race, was put up on eBay Thursday with a Buy It Now price of $15,000. Currently, the bids sit at $8000 with the reserve not yet met.
Speculation started growing when word of the race truck up for auction hit the media lines. Fellow driver Brendan Gaughan took to Twitter to confirm after talking to Benning that the truck for sale was indeed, his from the race.
Toby Christie from Sicknissified.com was able to reach Benning for comment about why the truck was for sale.
“The truck finished the race pretty much unusable for future events, and with the buzz surrounding the Eldora (Last Chance Qualifying Race),” Benning said. “We decided to throw it up on eBay and see if we couldn’t get a nice down payment on a new truck, it would be much easier to just replace the Eldora truck rather than try and fix it.”
So, if you are a NASCAR History and Memorabilia fanatic and have $15,000 plus lying around, this race truck will be a piece of history that you won’t want to miss out on.
You can find the truck on eBay here.