Finances were so bad at Richard Petty Motorsports last season that the organization was operating on a week-to-week basis with no guarantee it could make it to the next NASCAR race.
It was a heartbreaking saga for one of NASCAR’s most storied franchises, which somehow made it to the season finale despite the money woes created by its outgoing owner. The day after the season ended, a sale of assets was announced that gave control of RPM to an investment group hoping to eventually turn a profit on a cheap acquisition.
Just less than nine months later, the team is not only making money but celebrating from Victory Lane.
Marcos Ambrose gave RPM its first Sprint Cup Series victory in 68 races and first since it was rescued by Medallion Financial Corp. and DGP Investments in late November. The road- course win in Monday’s rain- postponed race was validation in the investment, said Medallion president Andrew Murstein.
“The company was obviously off to a good start anyway, and the two drivers have been performing better in their career this season than ever before,” Murstein, the listed owner of RPM, said Tuesday. “But until you get to the finish line first, there are always some lingering doubts.”
Overall performance at RPM has indeed improved this season. Ambrose’s win, his first at the elite Cup level, moved him up one spot in the standings to 22nd and his seven top-10 finishes equals his career best. AJ Allmen- dinger, meanwhile, is tied for 15th in the standings and could make a run for a spot in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.
Part of the improvement comes from RPM scaling down from four teams to two this season.