Richard Petty Motorsports drivers talk sponsorship, team growth

Wednesday activity on the Sprint Media Tour included a discussion with drivers and other personnel at Richard Petty Motorsports. Those on hand included Richard Petty Motorsports CEO Brian Moffitt and team co-owner Richard Petty, along with Sprint Cup drivers Aric Almirola and Marcos Ambrose and Nationwide Series driver Dakoda Armstrong. Among the items discussed was a continuing sponsorship relationship with the U.S. Air Force. Here is a transcript:


HOW HAVE THESE NEW PARTNERSHIPS HELPED YOU MOVE FORWARD IN 2014? “It really shows the direction we’re headed when we bring in partners and continue to retain the partners that we’ve had. We’ve had some success in bringing in WinField, Twisted Tea and others to help us improve our R&D efforts so these guys can go out and compete at the highest level. We’re really excited about where we’re at and where we’re headed for the future of the company.”

HOW DOES THE BUSINESS SUCCESS SHAPE THE GOALS FOR 2014 AND BEYOND? “When Richard, Andy and Doug got the business back a few years ago, they didn’t want to run at the back of the pack. The winning tradition of the Pettys is to be up front and win races and compete for championships. That’s what we’re in this for. We have R&D development and bringing Dakoda on in the Nationwide and Corey LaJoie and Ryan Truex, so we’re looking forward and we’re poised for the future.”


HOW DOES IT HELP KNOWING YOU HAVE SUPPORT FROM FOLKS LIKE THE U.S. AIR FORCE? “It helps a lot. It’s great to have the Air Force back. I’m an Air Force brat. My dad was in the Air Force, so it’s really cool to represent them. We host a lot of kids getting ready to swear into the Air Force every weekend and we have a lot of the high-ranking officials come each and every weekend, so that’s a lot of fun to represent that brand and represent the U.S. Air Force. And also Smithfield Foods stepped up in a huge way for us and for our race team, and the commitment they made to Richard Petty Motorsports and to me is tremendous. It’s allowed us to go out and hire more people, hire new people. I’ve got a new crew chief this year in Trent Owens and I feel really lucky to have him because he’s gonna help us a lot. I’m excited about this year and, like Brian was saying, we’ve got more sponsors and new people looking at this race team. We’ve got and Fresh from Florida and it’s just really good. We’ve got a lot of momentum on our side. We’re excited about this year. We started off last year really well and faltered through the summer and we’re not gonna falter this year. We’re gonna keep it up and keep that going, so I’m excited about that and excited to be back in a Ford Fusion this year with all the support we get from everybody at Ford Racing, so we’ve got a lot of things going at Richard Petty Motorsports and we’re ready for 2014.”


HOW HAS RPM GROWN IN YOUR TIME? “I’ve seen over the last 12 months the commercial success RPM has had has really reinvigorated our race team. We’ve added a lot of human resources to our program for 2014. We’ve created an R&D program. That’s the first time that’s happened since I’ve been at Richard Petty Motorsports. I’m excited about the potential of unlocking some more brain power on our race program and we’re thrilled to not only keep what we’ve had since I joined Richard Petty Motorsports, and I joined at a fairly tumultuous time. That was a difficult time for Richard and everybody to re-brand the company and actually re-buy the company and take it from the crumbs. So I’ve seen it at its darkest days and I’m really looking forward to 2014 because I think it’s the year Richard Petty Motorsports can break out and really show everybody the maturity that it has taken since I’ve been there, over four years now. We’re thrilled to have more people working on our race program, both from a commercial perspective and also inside our race team. At the end of the day, we’re all racing to go out there to win and we want to put Richard Petty back in victory lane. We’ve been able to do that occasionally over the last couple years, but we want to do that on a more frequent basis if we can. I think the way the rules are going this year, it’s gonna give us a better chance to make the Chase and to really do something special. So the gloves are off. I’m looking forward to turning the page because 2013 was a difficult one for both the Stanley car and also the Smithfield car with Aric and we’re looking to really make it stick in 2014.”


CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HAVING THE 43 ON YOUR CAR AND BEING WITH AN ORGANIZATION THAT HAS A BRIGHT FUTURE? “It’s great to be with an organization like Richard Petty Motorsports and having WinField come on board with us. One thing that really helps is having an experienced crew chief like Phillippe Lopez and this whole team allowing me to step in and make it really comfortable for me to just step into this role. I think everything has been going really smooth so far. It’s a team that definitely has the winning capability, so hopefully we can work on that and get there this year. I think our Daytona test was a good starting point to let everybody mesh together and learn each other. I think our communication is getting to where it needs to be. Now we’ve got to get ready for Daytona and get the season started.”


WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO THIS YEAR? “We’re probably in the best shape we’ve been in the last three or four years. Everybody knows we went really to the bottom a couple or three years ago when our car owner went bankrupt or whatever and we got with a couple of guys and bought the place out and just tried to get some foundation. I don’t know that our year last year was that much better than the year before, but it was a lot more stable and that’s what we’re trying to do now with our new sponsorships coming on, and all the people that had been there before stayed, so that’s really good. Some of them stepped up, which makes us feel like we were doing the right thing. Now we’ve been able to go into more of an engineering department and do a little bit more R&D on our own from where we’ve been at. We used to do it all. We used to build the motors and the cars and took them to the race track and did the whole deal. Now things, with the way NASCAR has the rules, everything is kind of cut-and-dried, so there’s not as much of that going. You have to have the engineers then to really tweak stuff. It used to be that we got close and it worked, so we feel like that we’re way better off than we’ve been on that part of the deal. I guess we’ll have to have a little talk with the drivers and get them to step up a little, too.”

Follow Stock Car Spin on Twitter @SCSblog or like Stock Car Spin on Facebook. Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook: NASCAR Examiner

Tags: Aric Almirola Marcos Ambrose NASCAR Richard Petty Motorsports

comments powered by Disqus