Richard Petty Motorsports says it will remain an independent operation while officially announcing its partnership with Richard Childress Racing on Friday morning.
Beginning in 2018, RPM will field a Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for Darrell Wallace Jr., who takes over the legendary No. 43. Petty is also permanently relocating onto the RCR campus in Welcome, North Carolina where they will receive chassis and engineering support and use ECR Engines.
The move is expected to be complete by January.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of success through our team partnerships over the past several seasons,” said Richard Childress. “To bring a storied organization like Richard Petty Motorsports on-board as an alliance partner is a win for each of our organizations.”
Wallace, 24, will compete for Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. Drew Blickensderfer will remain the crew chief of the team.
Next season will be the first time NASCAR’s two iconic teams and car numbers, the 3 (driven by RCR’s Austin Dillon) and 43, will work together.
“This our next chapter of Petty Racing,” said team co-owner and seven-time premier series champion Richard Petty. “We need to provide Bubba, Drew and the rest of the team with the tools necessary to be successful on the track, and I feel strongly this is the best move for RPM, our partners and everyone involved with our team.
“Chevrolet has been a consistent winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series for a long time and we’re proud to be a part of the GM family again. We feel we can immediately win with Chevrolet and our new alliance with RCR.”
Next season will not be the first time the Petty team has worked with Chevrolet. On the 31 wins Petty teams have with General Motors and Chevrolet, the most recent was in 1996 with Bobby Hamilton at Phoenix Raceway. The victory was also the first win for Richard Petty as a sole car owner. Lee Petty also won the inaugural Daytona 500 in 1959 while driving an Oldsmobile.
Wallace’s first two wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (2010) were also in a Chevrolet. And in 2017, Wallace picked up his sixth career win in the Camping World Truck Series driving a Chevrolet. The 2018 season will be Wallace’s first full year in the Monster Energy Series, which kicks off with his first appearance in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 18.
“I’ve had some great memories with Chevrolet and I’m ready to make a lot more,” said Wallace. “The entire RPM team is ready for 2018 and now we have a big piece of the puzzle put in place. We’re all eager to start preparing our No. 43 Camaro for 2018, working and creating new ideas with RCR. This is a new journey and we’re all ready to begin it.”