Richard Petty Motorsports has extended its engine deal with Ford Racing for another year in Cup and Nationwide competition in 2013, putting an end to speculation that the team was looking for a different engine provider next season.
"Our team relationship with Ford Racing has helped us win races and be competitive in both the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series," said Richard Petty. "They have been our partner over the past three seasons and we're proud to continue that relationship into next season.'
"We're delighted Richard Petty Motorsports will continue to run Fords going forward," said the director of Ford Racing, Jamie Allison. "Richard's presence means so much to this sport, to the fans, and to us ... We're proud to have the King and RPM with Ford.
"The team has certainly gained momentum this year," he added. "Together we believe the continued Ford technical tools and engineering support will further enable RPM the opportunity to win more races and be a contender to get drivers into the Chase in 2013."
At one stage, it was speculated that RPM was in line for a jump to Dodge, after Dodge's chief partner in NASCAR Penske Racing decided to return to the Ford fold from next season leaving the engine maker in need of a new association. But the rumours didn't come to anything, and with Dodge deciding instead to quite the sport altogether at the end of the year RPM was always likely to stay with Ford next year if terms could be agreed.
This year, the team's Sprint Cup driver line-up has consisted of Marcos Ambrose in the #9 car alongside Aric Almirola who took over the #43 car when AJ Allmendinger departed for Penske Racing at the beginning of the current season.
The team did not confirm its Cup driver line-up for next season, but indicated that it expected to remain a two-car team and added that Michael Annett will continue to help the RPM #43 car in the Nationwide Series next season.
Ambrose said that he was delighted by Friday's announcement that Ford was staying with the team: "It is great. I have been aware of the process and the progress with it and I have been very supportive. I am excited that they have got it done. I think that they have made some really good choices."
That seemed to suggest that Ambrose considered his own extension at RPM a done deal, although he insisted that it wasn't quite signed and sealed just yet.
"We are all squared away as far as what the expectations are on both sides and it is just a matter of finishing it off at this point," he said. "I can't see any reason why I wouldn't want to be a part of Richard Petty Motorsports in 2013. There are a lot of good things to look forward to.
"I want to be with Richard Petty Motorsports in 2013 and we are all working together to get that done as quickly as we can," he added. "We have built a great team and have great partners with Ford and Roush with their engine program and also the engineering support. We have the new 2013 Fusion coming out which is really exciting. I want to be in NASCAR. I want to be around and I want to drive for Richard Petty Motorsports.
"I am a big supporter of Ford and Richard Petty and the whole RPM team," he said.