News & Media

Evernham sues former partner Gillett for $19 million

February 24, 2011, David Caraviello,

Former championship crew chief and NASCAR team owner Ray Evernham filed a $19 million civil lawsuit this week against two companies owned by George Gillett, his former partner in Gillett Evernham Motorsports.

Evernham is suing for $19,183,203, according to documents filed in North Carolina Superior Court in Charlotte. The complaint is for the recoupment of Evernham's investment in the race team, which was later rolled into Richard Petty Motorsports when that organization was formed in 2009. According to the lawsuit, the amount was supposed to have been repaid along with a 5 percent annual return after the original RPM was sold, but Evernham never received any payment.

"We have diligently worked to resolve this matter in good faith without resorting to legal action," Evernham said in a statement Thursday. "This matter has been pending for a period of time and we did not want to disrupt any excitement of the beginning of the race season with this unfortunate situation. We were unable to come to a fair resolution for the amounts due to me related to my sale of the previous RPM race team. Like many other vendors and creditors, my claims have been left unpaid. I am optimistic that the judicial system will deliver a fair resolution for my outstanding claims, and hope that the other people and companies who are owed money by them are fully compensated and made whole."

Evernham and Gillett formed Gillett Evernham Motorsports in 2007 when Gillett bought controlling interest of the former Evernham Motorsports. Evernham remained a minority owner when GEM absorbed the remnants of the former Petty Enterprises to form Richard Petty Motorsports in 2009. Petty and a team of investors bought out Gillett prior to this season, and Evernham claims in the lawsuit that the sale activated clauses in his contract for him to be repaid. Creditors of the former RPM have been told that sufficient funds are not available for repayment, the complaint says.

Evernham won 13 races with his original team, two more under the Gillett-Evernham banner, and another two as a minority partner in the original incarnation of RPM. Evernham has since formed his own company and is doing work for clients such as the automotive group of Rick Hendrick, the car owner with whom he won 47 races and three titles as a crew chief.