RPM downsizing to two teams

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 3:22 PM ET

CONCORD, N.C. -- Richard Petty Motorsports will trim from a four-team operation to two for the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season, the team announced on Monday.

The team will field Fords for A.J. Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose, who will move from JTG/Daugherty Racing to Petty at the start of next year's campaign.

It's currently unknown how many employees from RPM will be laid off as a result of the downsizing.

RPM has been financially strapped during the final weeks of this season, falling into debt with Roush Fenway Racing, who has provided engine support for the team.

Petty Enterprises merged with Gillett Evernham Motorsports in January 2009, and then Yates Racing aligned with the organization this year. George Gillett Jr. has a majority stake in the team, while seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty has just a small portion in ownership. Petty has been trying to find an investment group to help restructure the team.

"Currently, we are concentrating on building two solid programs with A.J. Allmendinger behind the wheel of the No. 43 entry and Marcos Ambrose in the No.9 Ford," Petty said in a team statement. "We are very fortunate to have an extremely loyal family of partners and are looking forward to the future."

This year, RPM fielded Fords for Kasey Kahne, Elliott Sadler, Paul Menard and Allmendinger.

Kahne departed the team last month and finished the season with Red Bull Racing. He will drive an entry for Red Bull next year before he heads to Hendrick Motorsports to take over for Mark Martin in Hendrick's No.5 car in 2012.

Sadler, whose contract with RPM expires at the end of this year, is joining Kevin Harvick Inc. to drive a full-time schedule in the Nationwide Series next season. Sadler also will run a limited schedule for KHI in the Camping World Truck Series.

Menard will drive a fourth entry for Richard Childress Racing next year.

RPM concluded this season with two of its drivers finishing in the top-five on Sunday at Homestead, FL. Aric Almirola and Allmendinger finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

"This team could have easily fallen apart and fought and just dismantled itself, but I feel like we became stronger," Allmendinger said Sunday at Homestead. "When we figure this stuff out back at the shop, we will get this race team back where it needs to be, and I think we will be that much stronger for having gone through this."

Almirola took over driving duties of RPM's No.9 car when Kahne left the team.


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