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12/17 2016

Richard Petty Motorsports downsizes NASCAR team, loans charter A SERIES OF TRANSACTIONS CONSOLIDATED THE NASCAR GRID FOR 2017 BY:  MATT WEAVER

Richard Petty Motorsports downsizes NASCAR team loans charter

Richard Petty Motorsports will only run one car next season, while a three-team loan transaction ensures that the Wood Brothers will have a guaranteed starting spot.PHOTO BY LAT PHOTOGRAPHIC

Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed on Friday night that it would drop to a one-car team in 2017 and focus on just Aric Almirola and the No. 43 Ford.

As a result, the charter for the No. 44 has been loaned out to Go FAS Racing’s No. 32, whom in turn loaned out their charter to the Wood Brothers No. 21 entry. This ensures that all three cars will have a guaranteed starting spot for the 2017 season, not to mention the financial benefits of owning NASCAR’s version of a franchise.

This applies to drivers Almirola, Matt DiBenedetto (No. 32) and Ryan Blaney (No. 21.)

Brian Moffitt, Chief Executive Officer of RPM, said the decision was meant to improve the performance of Almirola’s squad.

“At the conclusion of the 2016 season, we evaluated how to best improve our on-track product. We feel that it’s in the best interest of our partners and for Richard Petty Motorsports to focus our resources on the No. 43 Ford Fusion and Aric in 2017.

“A concentrated effort on one team will position us for improvement while giving us adequate time to reestablish our two-car team in 2018. For the interim, we will lease one of our two charters.”

Per NASCAR regulations, a charter can be loaded out once every five years but must be returned or sold at the end of the season. The Wood Brothers were not granted such a charter at the start of last season but performed at a high level, despite the risk of missing races. Additionally, not all charters are created equal in the sense that some charters have more value than the rest. For example, a charter that finished top-10 in points receives more money the following season than one that finished outside of the top-10.

A chartered team that finishes in the bottom three of the chartered standings in three consecutive years could have its franchise revoked. That was the reason Go FAS loaned its charter out to the No. 21 team.