Crash.Net NASCAR News
RPM confirms Ambrose and Almirola for 2013
17 November 2012
Marcos Ambrose will continue racing full time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2013, after Richard Petty Motorsports confirmed new contracts for both him and his team mate Aric Almirola.
"This is the most stable we've been in the last four or five years at RPM," said a pleased team owner Richard Petty.
It will be Ambrose's third season with the team in the #9 Ford, while for Almirola it be his second full season at RPM after moving to the team replacing AJ Allemendinger in the #43 car at the end of the 2011 season.
Ambrose has had back-to-back wins at Watkins Glen with the team, and this year also notched up his first two pole positions in the Cup series at Sonoma and Michigan. This weekend he starts from the front row once again for the season finale at Homestead-Miami in Florida.
“It's good to come back to Richard Petty Motorsports and focus on our future together,” said Ambrose. “We had success this year and recently have made plans to get better for 2013 and beyond."
Those changes include the appointment of director of competition Sammy Johns, and Drew Blickensderfer being appointed as crew chief of Ambrose's car.
"I think the Petty organization, and this #9 team under the leadership of 'The King' [Richard Petty], Sammy and Drew is going to be even stronger next season. I can't think of a better place to be and am ready to win."
“We have shuffled our Cup team line-ups a few times this season to maximize our results,” contributed Johns. “We feel that the chemistry that we are developing now with both teams is very strong [and] we have seen marked improvement over the past few weeks."
"We've seen improvement with the movements that we've made," agreed Petty. "Maybe some of the finishes aren't there, but the running has been better and the shop has been a lot better, so I think we'll pretty well stay with the setup we've got now,"
Johns also made it clear what the team's target was for 2013: "It's important that we continue to better our communication and continuity with Marcos, Aric and their teams into 2013. We feel confident that both teams are capable of competing for wins and making the Chase next season."
Like Ambrose, Aric Almirola also claimed his first Cup series pole position in 2012 with RPM, and has been consistently strong in qualifying and races since being paired up with new crew chief Todd Parrott.
"We went through some changes this season, but since being paired with Todd and this crew, I've had the most fun I've had in a Cup car," said Almirola. "I think we have a lot of things 'clicking' right now and have a lot of momentum heading into 2013.
"Everyone at RPM seems to have good chemistry right now and that's a good feeling as we all prepare for 2013," he added.
Last month, RPM confirmed that it had extended its engine supply deal with Ford. (See separate story
.) The team has also previously announced the continuation of its Nationwide Series operation headed by driver Michael Annett, who is fifth in this year's championship standings.