Richard Petty Motorsports to Scale Down to One Racecar in 2017

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By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) announced on Friday that it will scale down to just one full-time effort in NASCAR’s Premier Series in 2017.

Aric Almirola will return for his sixth season with RPM, driving the team’s No. 43 Ford with support from Smithfield Foods. The Floridian has enjoyed modest success in his first five years with the team, finishing inside of the top 20 in points in four of the five years and earning his first premier series victory as a Chase berth at Daytona International Speedway in 2014.

The team’s second entry, left empty when rookie Brian Scott announced his surprising retirement at the end of 2016, will be put on hiatus for the foreseeable future. The ride had seen three different drivers — Marcos Ambrose, Sam Hornish, Jr., and Scott– in the last three seasons.

The announcement comes just one day after the announcement that the No. 44’s charter will be leased to GO FAS Racing’s No. 32 entry with Matt DiBenedetto, guaranteeing the team a starting spot in each 2017 race.

Brian Moffitt, Chief Executive Office of RPM, issued the following statement about the team’s decision:

“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 (Almirola) 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.”

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