Richard Petty Motorsports will field Chevrolet entries in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series beginning in 2018 and form an alliance with Richard Childress Racing, according to a Friday announcement from RPM team officials.
The organization, co-owned by seven-time series champion Richard Petty and Andrew Murstein, will field the No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 for driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace.
As part of the move to Chevrolet, RPM will align with Richard Childress Racing for engine and chassis support and permanently move its shop to Welcome, North Carolina to be adjacent to the RCR shop. RCR fields multiple cars in both the Monster Energy Series and XFINITY Series. The move will begin immediately and be completed by January.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of success through our team partnerships over the past several seasons”, said Richard Childress, Chairman and CEO of RCR in a team release. “To bring a storied organization like Richard Petty Motorsports on-board as an alliance partner is a win for each of our organizations.”
The 2018 season will be the first for teams utilizing the Camaro body style in NASCAR’s top series. From 2013 through 2017, Chevy teams campaigned with the Chevrolet SS body.
Proud to say that I’ll be racing the No. 43 @chevrolet Camaro in 2018! I’m also incredibly excited about our new alliance with @RCRracing. The Petty’s and I have had a lot of success with Chevy, including wins in my first ever K&N Pro Series race, and my last truck race! pic.twitter.com/6ewPvPMRCf
— Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) December 8, 2017
“This is our next chapter of Petty racing,” said Richard Petty, co-owner, Richard Petty Motorsports in the release. “We need to provide Bubba, Drew (Blickensderfer, crew chief) 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.”
RPM will remain an independent race operation, according the release, but the change allows for the team to collaborate with RCR. The move also unites two of the sport’s most iconic teams and cars. RPM’s No. 43 and RCR’s No. 3 will now work together for the first time to push forward both organizations’ goals of winning races and championships.
Wallace is replacing Aric Almirola as driver of the No. 43 for RPM. A former regular in the XFINITY Series, Wallace made four starts for the team in 2017 while Almirola recovered from a back injury.
“I’ve had some great memories with Chevrolet and I’m ready to make a lot more,” added Wallace Jr. “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.”
Almirola was the most recent winner for RPM, scoring a victory in the 2014 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway and qualifying for the playoffs that year.
RPM had fielded Ford entries on a full-time basis since 2010.