News & Media

Revamped RPM could make play for Danica

January 26, 2011, Mark Aumann,

CONCORD, N.C. -- Partner Murstein would like to see a third car in the RPM stable come 2012

Richard Petty Motorsports went from four cars to two during a tumultuous offseason, but Andrew Murstein, who bankrolled the restructuring of the team, sees the possibility of expansion in the near future.

And he's even willing to throw out a few possible candidates for a third car when it comes to fruition.

"I'm already talking to other drivers and mentioning the names to Richard. He's accepting it but not jumping at it. He knows more than I do."


"Not that any of these guys are available or that we've spoken to any of them, but two names that just come to my mind, people that I think would be great for this brand are Clint Bowyer -- [whose contract] I think is coming up next year -- and Danica Patrick would be very interesting, also," Murstein said.

The president of Medallion Financial said Patrick would be an excellent fit for several reasons.

"We have a woman CEO of the company, [Lisa Brown]," Murstein said. "Medallion has financed hundreds of female-owned companies, and that's all we did for a while were women- and minority-owned companies, so I think she'd be a real interesting fit for us and somebody I think would change this sport.

"I know she's starting to get into it and I think she deserves to be the star of a team. I don't think she'll ever get that chance if she goes to any of the other four-team operations but she would get that chance with us."

Petty is still dealing with the idea of getting back to a hands on role on a day-to-day basis, so Murstein admits he may be jumping the gun a bit.

"I'm probably pushing Richard [into expansion]," Murstein said. "That's often the case sometimes that younger guys want to grow quicker and the older guys, they see what happen when they grow too fast. I'm already talking to other drivers and mentioning the names to Richard. He's accepting it but not jumping at it. He knows more than I do. I think the right time is after this season but I'd love to have a third car in 2012, if not 2013."

Dale Earnhardt Jr., co-owner of the JR Motorsports that hired Patrick last year to drive on a part-time basis in the Nationwide Series, said he can understand why an owner in the Sprint Cup Series would have an interest in hiring Patrick.

"I think that anybody who had the opportunity would have to seriously consider it. She's already showed in the last little bit that she's learning quite a lot and that she's getting quite competitive in the Nationwide Series in just a short period of time," Earnhardt said. "I think she's showing a lot of people, I think she's surprised a lot of people in her ability to adapt to these cars. It was a major deal for us as a company [to land her as a driver], and I'm not ashamed to admit it. And I think anybody in the Cup Series would have to consider it as well."

Meanwhile, RPM executive Robbie Loomis warned that no one should expect the organization to add a third car and driver anytime soon.

"Andy and Richard and Doug Bergeron have shown an interest in wanting to grow the team. But I think the best example I can give them is what [Joe] Gibbs [Racing] has done. [Team owner Joe] Gibbs has had plenty of opportunities to grow to four -- but he waited until he had two successful cars before he went to three. It's about having the right chemistry, the right people, and obviously the right drivers. We have two drivers who I think are capable of winning this year, and it's up to us to give them the equipment they need and to make the right calls. Once we do that and are successful with those two guys, then maybe we can look at growth and possibly adding a third car down the road."