It was announced on Tuesday that Richard Petty Motorsports plans to start running the new Dodge R6 engine no later than the May 31st Sprint Cup Series race at Dover International Speedway.
RPM has been running the old R5 engine in its 4 cars this season, with little success. Their best driver, Kasey Kahne, currently sits 17th in the points standings. 2 of RPM’s other drivers, AJ Allmendinger(28th) and Elliott Sadler(29th), have been steadily falling back in the standings since Daytona. RPM’s other driver, Reed Sorenson(22nd), has been the only RPM driver to make any gains in the standings during the past three races.
Meanwhile, Penske Racing has been using the new R6 engine all season, and with stellar results. Kurt Busch sits 2nd in the standings, 10 points out of the lead. David Stremme is having the best year of his Cup career, while Sam Hornish Jr. has finished in the top 10 in 2 of the past 3 races.
Unfortunately for RPM, only one of the drivers will get the priviledge of running the new R6 engine, at least for now. Speculation is flying as to who the lucky driver might be, but the most likely candidate is Kahne, who is in the midst of vying for a Chase spot. Next in line may be Allmendinger, who, out of the remaining drivers, showed the most potential during the first part of the season. However, Sorenson could get the nod. He’s moved from 30th to 22nd in the standings since Texas and is running strong even without the power of the R6.
According to the organization, the engine was supposed to be placed in the cars about a month ago, but was delayed because the team began running an unexpected 4th car with driver AJ Allmendinger. The engine could actually debut during the May 16th All-Star Race, but team officials said that the engine would not be run in the May 24th Coca-Cola 600.
We’ll keep you posted as we learn more details.