Blog Entry

Observations on the Yates/RPM merger

Posted on: September 11, 2009 12:51 pm

So yesterday's news regarding the merger of Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing came as quite a surprise. It's rare that such big news sneaks up on the NASCAR media like it did on Thursday. Usually there's a leak somewhere resulting in rumors around the garage. Not since Kurt Busch left Roush Racing for Penske Racing have I been like, "Woah, where did that come from?"

Now I'm not really surprised by the actual news. It's no secret that RPM and Yates were both hurting financially. My surprise was that they were able to keep it hush-hush that they were working on a deal.

Considering the two teams' financial situations and the marketplace, I can't find any fault with the merger. Seems like a good idea. But it does mean two fewer rides available in a shrinking Cup field.

Consider that the 2010 version of RPM was once three distinct organizations that -- in a thriving economy -- would likely be fielding four teams each. So that's up to eight rides off the market right there.

Here are some other observations on the merger:

  • Kasey Kahne, AJ Allmendinger, Elliott Sadler and Paul Menard were announced as the drivers, leaving Reed Sorenson as the odd man out.
  • The merger reunites Sadler with the Yates family, though I don't know if this will necessarily be a happy reunion, even though Sadler captured two wins while driving for Robert Yates Racing.
  • Sadler left RYR midway through the 2006 season after 3 1/2 seasons in the 38 car. And the team he left for was Evernhan Motorsports, which of course is now RPM. On top of that, RPM tried to cut ties with Sadler prior to the start of this season before he forced their hand to keep him in the No. 19.

    So why retain Sadler when it would seem there could be some ill will and resentment? Perhaps for the same reason they had to keep him this season -- his contract. He's reportedly signed through 2010. He'd have to walk away on his own to get him out of the 19 car. There had been a report that Sadler had been looking elsewhere, possibly as a replacement for Casey Mears at RCR, but it doesn't seem to have legs.

    But there's also this -- despite mediocre results, sponsors seem to love Sadler the same way they do Michael Waltrip. And as I've said time and time again, sponsors drive this sport.

  • Speaking of sponsors driving the sport, just look at Paul Menard. Based on his results, there's no way he should continue to have a Cup ride. But as long as his father's hardware chain continues to funnel money to support his cause, Menard is as good as gold.
  • The 96 car which is being run by Yates this year is owned by Hall of Fame Racing so Bobby Labonte hasn't necessarily lost his job, though Erik Darnell is probably out of luck turning the part-time gig into a full-time ride next year. He seemed to be the darling of Roush Racing, a Yates partner. If HOF had its druthers, I'd guess they'd have wanted Labonte to run all 36 races in the 96 car.
  • But are the hearts of the HOF owners really into it? Jeff Moorad, one of the principal owners of the organization, is in the midst of buying the San Diego Padres. I can't imagine HOF Racing is a top priority for him at the moment.

  • And what of Jamie McMurray? He was the odd man out at Roush Fenway Racing with NASCAR's four-car limit going into effect next season.
  • Even though McMurray never lived up to expectations since coming aboard as the replacement for Kurt Busch, Jack Roush reportedly still has a soft spot for him and if McMurray didn't find a ride elsewhere, he figured to hook him up with Yates, which had been basically operating as a satellite for Roush (see Darnell, Erik). Well, that's out the window.

    Unless there's still more to the Sadler situation, McMurray has no options at RPM. His best option may be a reunion with Chip Ganassi as the replacement for Martin Truex Jr. in the Earnhardt Ganassi No. 1 car. That's if Ganassi will welcome him back. That appears to be the best ride available with a marquee team.

  • There was no mention of car numbers for the merged Yates/RPM team with the announcement. Kahne almost assuredly will remain in the No. 9 car. Allmendinger seems a good bet to shift to the 43 car. Menard figures to continue to sport the 98 (if Yates wanted him in the 28 or 38, he could have made that switch last year). So that just leaves Sadler, who has been driving the 19 car since he joined the team. I would think they'd keep him with the No. 19 for continuity, but there could be some sentiment to have him the 44.


    Since: Oct 20, 2006
    Posted on: December 1, 2009 7:59 pm

    Observations on the Yates/RPM merger

    Well , you  was  right , but  the  deal  of  RYR  and  RPM   isn't  signed , yet . They  will probably  come  in , but  they  need  to  dot  the  i's  and  cross the  t's . McMurray  signed  for  EGR ,well , for  Therasa , more  than  Chip's . But , that  team  will  ride  Jaun's  shoulders . You  were  right  on  the  money  with  Menards , as  I  said  before , if  it  wasn't  for  his  daddy , he  wouldn't  be  driving . One  more  thing  about  RYR/RPM  , They  are  fielding  the  #43  car , the  other  one's  are  RPM  numbers , and  " Drunk " Allmendinger will  drive  the #43 . The  one  question  though , will  Petty  retire  now ? As  he's  only  a  spokeman  for  RPM  now , and  Gillettes  wanted  to  dump  him  when he  bought  out  him , but  he  kept  him  on . I  know  #43  is  his , but , I  think  it's  time  for  him  to  retire . The  new fan  don't  even  know  who  he  is , why  keep  him ?

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