Richard Petty claimed nine of his record 200 victories in a Ford in 1969, the only year he drove the brand.
By Reid Spencer
Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service
Richard Petty Motorsports will switch from Dodge to Ford next season through a merger of RPM and Yates Racing, the team announced Thursday.
The combined organization will race Fords under the name Richard
Petty Motorsports with a lineup that includes current RPM drivers Kasey
Kahne, AJ Allmendinger and Elliott Sadler and Yates Racing's
Reed Sorenson, who drives the No. 43 RPM Dodge, will not be with the organization next season.
"You know what I like—we have really good cars, but I feel like we need to make some gains engine-wise," said Kahne, who won Sunday's Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta and will try to clinch a place in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup on Saturday night at Richmond. "And Roush-Yates engines are really good, but they can make some gains car-wise. Between all of us working together, we can make some big gains for next year."
RPM itself is the product of mergers. The company began as Evernham Motorsports in 2000 and pioneered Dodge's return to Cup racing in 2001, after running Fords for three races in 2000. George Gillett bought majority interest in Evernham Motorsports in August 2007, forming Gillett Evernham Motorsports.
Richard Petty Motorsports was formed in January of this year through a merger of Gillett-Evernham and Petty Holdings. From 2001 through 2009, Dodge has been the manufacturer for the various evolutions of the organization.
RPM's move to Ford leaves Dodge with the three Penske Racing cars of Kurt Busch, Sam Hornish Jr. and David Stremme. Penske recently announced Brad Keselowski will replace Stremme in the No. 12 Dodge next year.
Richard Petty claimed nine of his record 200 victories in a Ford in 1969, the only year he drove the brand. Kahne started out with Yates Racing, driving Fords in the Nationwide Series. After a full Nationwide season for Akins Motorsports in 2003, Kahne signed to drive Dodges in the Cup series for Gillett-Evernham.
"Ford is going to provide the support that we need to go to victory lane more often," said team managing partner Foster Gillett. "If you are going to compete with the other teams in this sport you need a lot of support.
"We bring a lot to this relationship as well. We've won twice this season, and the power of Richard Petty is hard to beat, plus we have the support of some of the biggest names in corporate America."