GEM Rebranded Richard Petty Motorsports for 2009

As it turns out, the Richard Petty name will continue to be part of NASCAR in the Sprint Cup Series. Following the merger between Petty Enterprises and Gillett Evernham Motorsports, the former was rescued from bankruptcy and was expected to field their No. 43 Dodge under the GEM name. However, GEM's co-owner George Gillett announced that the new team will be called Richard Petty Motorsports.

“To continue Richard Petty's legacy is without question the most important factor in this relationship. Our goal is to win not one championship as Richard Petty Motorsports, but to win multiple championships,” argued Gillett, revealing that the decision was made while taking into consideration marketing reasons.

The Petty name was linked with the oldest team in the NASCAR series, Petty Enterprises, while also the winningest in the history of the sport. Founded by Lee Petty 60 years ago, the team won no less than 10 Sprint Cup titles and won 268 races in NASCAR's premier class.

“This begins the next great chapter for the Petty name in NASCAR. It was very important to us, not only to see the Petty name out on the race track, but also to be competitive and get all of our cars back into Victory Lane and competing for Sprint Cup Series championships on a regular basis,” said Richard Petty.

“To bring the No. 43 and 44 together under the Richard Petty Motorsports banner means a lot to both me and my family. And then to pair with the No. 9 and 19 and their history really shows the spirit of this partnership. We are bringing two winning organizations together to take a competitive step forward for many years to come,” added Petty.

Richard Petty Motorsports will therefore start the new Sprint Cup season on a 4-car effort, from which 3 cars will be fielded full-time and one will run on a part-time schedule. Kasey Kahne will drive the No. 9 Dodge, while Elliott Sadler and Reed Sorenson will compete on the No. 19 and No. 43 cars, respectively. The part-time drive will go to A.J. Allmendinger (# 44 Dodge).
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