NASCAR »

Petty set for sigh of relief

Thanks in part to AJ Allmendinger's spot-on performances in qualifying this season, Richard Petty Motorsports is all but certain to get a breather when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Martinsville next week.

Barring a disaster of epic proportions Sunday at Bristol, all of RPM's cars will be locked into a Cup event for the first time in 73 races -- meaning that vice president of competition Mark McArdle won't have to agonise during qualifying for the March 29 Goody's Fast Relief 500.

All four Petty cars are comfortably in the top 35 in 2009 owner points, and all four are in the field for Sunday's Food City 500 at Bristol. Through that race, the top 35 cars in season-ending 2008 owner points were guaranteed starting spots in Cup races. Henceforth, the current top 35 will determine which cars are locked into the field.

"Beginning in 2007 at that spring Martinsville race, the #10 car fell out of the top 35, and it's been a long two years," McArdle said. "It's not something you want to get good at (qualifying), but I guess we've had to."

Allmendinger has qualified on speed for each of the first five races; only he and Tony Stewart share that distinction - and Stewart had the safety net of a past champion's provisional starting spot to use as needed.

In the 2009 owners' standings, the #9 Dodge driven by Kasey Kahne is ninth, the #19 of Elliott Sadler is 17th, Allmendinger's #44 is 20th and the #43 of Reed Sorenson (which superseded the #10 after an offseason merger between Gillett Evernham Motorsports and Petty Holdings) is 27th.

McArdle hopes the solid performances of the organisation will ease the search for additional sponsorship for Allmendinger, whose schedule has been extended for five races and now includes all events through the May 24 Coca-Cola 600 as well as the Coke Zero 400 in July.

"Hopefully, this says to (potential sponsors) that we've got our act together and we're worthy of consideration," McArdle said. "If we can keep the momentum going, keep some interest coming our way, hopefully we can continue to extend five races more at a time and patch together a full season for that #44.

"I think it's vital to the performance of the whole team."

For McArdle, the relief derived from having all four cars in the show is almost palpable.

"I used to be 6-4," he joked, "and I had a lot less gray hairs 73 races ago."

by Reid Spencer/Sporting News


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Aj Allmendinger - Richard Petty Motorsports   [pic credit: Getty/NASCAR]
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Butterfinger/Coffeemate Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place, Sunday April 3, 2016, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, VA (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Brian Scott, driver of the #44 Albertsons Co./Shore Lodge Ford, talks to team owner Richard Petty in the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 18, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 Kroger/Clorox Chevrolet SS, qualifies for third position Friday, October 30, 2015 for Sunday`s first round of the Eliminator 8 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase race at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 3M Chevrolet, and AJ Allmendinger, driver of the #47 House Autry Chevrolet, talk on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 8, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe`s Pro Services Chevrolet, and Clint Bowyer, driver of the #15 5-hour Energy Toyota, lead a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, and Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 Skittles Toyota, lead the field past the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with the chequered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 22, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, finishes in ninth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Budweiser/Jimmy John’s Chevrolet SS, finishes in second place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Pro Services Chevrolet SS, finishes in fourth place Saturday night, August 22, 2015 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.