(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
The details are starting to slither out of the garage area, revealing that Richard Petty Motorsports may owe approximately $12 million dollars to the team’s chassis and engine builders.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a source with knowledge of the situation told Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway with Dave Moody that RPM had fallen $9-10 million behind in its payments to Roush Fenway Racing and Roush Yates Racing Engines for race cars, engines and rear gear assemblies. That debt prompted Roush to repossess the team’s Talladega cars, engines and gears earlier this week, but the cars were returned to RPM late Thursday morning after a partial payment was made. The engines reportedly remain in the possession of Roush Yates Racing Engines, awaiting an additional payment. (Sirius NASCAR Radio’s Sirius Speedway)
Kahne said RPM has met all its financial responsibilities to him, dismissing rumors that the decision to split early made sense for both sides. Red Bull Racing will pay Kahne’s salary the rest of the season. Kahne said talks about a split began on Monday, two days after the brakes failed on his car for the second time in three races (and third time this season), leaving the driver frustrated. Kahne defended his decision not to return to the race after repairs were made, saying he was sick and unable to continue. He was offended that an RPM official questioned his commitment, saying he needed to do his part to help the team. “Anybody that questions my commitment doesn’t know me very well,” Kahne said. “I don’t know if there is anybody out there that puts as much into it as I do throughout the week. I was sick to my stomach and it was time for me to call it a day. I’m happy I did it and ready to get on with this weekend.” Kahne said the decision to split was not based on speculation that financial difficulties concerning RPM. He said he wished the team well the rest of the season. Kahne said he has agreed to maintain his commitments to sponsor Budweiser for the remainder of the season, including all meet and greets. He added this was not the way he wanted to end his relationship with Budweiser or RPM, but reiterated it was best for all parties.
As SPEED opened Friday’s NASCAR TV coverage, it showed the #9 Richard Petty Motorpsorts and #83 Red Bull Racing team haulers parked next to each other and the #83 is parked next to the #19 RPM team in the garage at Martinsville. Kahne was shown talking to a crewman at RPM, with Kahne in his Red Bull Racing driver suit.
It appears that the CEO of Richard Petty Motorsports, George Gillett and company’s house of “smoke and mirrors”, are beginning to crumple. “The house of Gillett” resembles the old card shark’s bait and switch game that we are all accustomed top seeing in the shadier sides of town!
No doubt there will be more details that will emerge on the financial news surrounding George Gillett and RPM.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!