Remember the jingle? “Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet,” the iconic commercial tune went. Just as iconic as those symbols is Richard Petty to the world of NASCAR racing. RPM will not only align with “the bowties” in 2018, they will also align technically with Richard Childress Racing. That’s the word at Jayski.com.
While Richard Petty himself is more of a NASCAR ambassador and organizational figurehead, in this season of change, it’s good to see an icon from the sport’s heyday remain relevant in the sport. Admittedly, it’s been years since any driver associated with Petty has made a serious run at NASCAR glory, and given that, sometimes you have to shake things up.
Given the rise of Toyota and resurgence of Ford in the sport, you have to imagine there’s no shortage of motivation for Chevrolet to reclaim their king of the mountain status in NASCAR. In recent years, Stewart-Haas has switched to Ford, the driver lineup has gone through wholesale changes at Hendrick Motorsports, and Chip Ganassi’s Kyle Larson was really about the only bowtie bearing driver to make some serious NASCAR noise in 2017. The automaker that has so long ruled “stock” car racing won’t take this lying down, you know that.
Now, we’re not suggesting that this new alliance is a magic bullet for Chevrolet or Petty. What it is a new union, and of course, when any alliance like this is forged, there’s that fresh desire to make it work well. Certianly, RPM won’t find itself as the step-child behind Penske and SHR, to name two. The teams and the drivers still have to get it done. What it does mean is there’s new resources to work with.
We thing we know is Bubba Wallace will attract a lot of attention out of the 2018 chute. Not only is there the novelty of an African-American behind the wheel, he’s been making a steady ascension up the NASCAR ladder. Now, it’s time to make something happen. Will there be a second team racing in the 44? No word there yet.
The more parity there is in NASCAR (provided its not artificially generated), the better the sport. From this fan’s perspective, I hope it pays dividends.